Daniel Carey, president and CEO of the Historic Savannah Foundation, said more than 12 million tourists visit the Savannah area each year, adding more than $2 billion to its economy.
Carey said Savannah, founded in 1733, has 3 centuries of history to offer visitors, including about 1,500 historic homes.
“It’s an authentic, historic, architecturally interesting and pedestrian friendly place. They can go really at their own leisure and soak in the history and the culture,” he said.
Philadelphia, one of the nation’s most historic cities, has been working to capitalize on cultural and historical tourism by attracting visitors to neighborhoods beyond the traditional tourist stops of the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.
The city’s tourism bureau recently put the spotlight on nine neighborhoods that boast their own historic attractions as well as restaurants, bars, galleries and other development, said Patrick Hauck, director of neighborhood preservation for the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia.
“What’s great about cultural tourism in cities like Philadelphia is that it’s not just about what happened in the past, it’s also about what’s happening now. Those two really work together,” he said.