Some companies in Savannah are at odds with city leaders over after-dark tours.
There’s a proposal to set a 10:00 p.m. cut-off time for all tours in two residential areas of the historic district. A public feedback meeting on the issue was hosted by the Special Events, Film, & Tourism Department in the Civic Center Thursday evening.
The hope is the public input will help to answer a question: How late is too late for tours in historic areas downtown?
The pilot program for the 10:00 p.m. end time would last four months if it’s adopted by city leaders.
Every mode of touring will be affected. Trolleys, horse & carriage, and even walking tours would all have to end at 10:00 p.m.
It will cover Monterey and Calhoun Squares, as well as residential areas of the Lincoln and President Streets corridors.
Noise complaints prompted the call for the new restriction. Tour company owners tell us noise violators are rare in the industry here.
“I don’t think it’s the majority of the companies, but I have seen groups of forty walk by here at ten o’clock at night and where the heck’s the city?” said Greg Profit, Savannah By Foot owner.
Marley Gibson and her husband Patrick Burns own Got Ghosts? Tours. They say there are a lot of business owners following the rules.
“We’re doing our jobs every night and there are a few bad apples that are making this difficult for all of us,” Gibson explained. “I think the city is reacting to those few complaints and lumping us all together instead of enforcing what they already have on the books.”
Burns says nightfall is essential to ghost tours.
“Nobody wants to go on a ghost tour during broad daylight. Its part of the whole appeal and allure to ghost tours is that they are under the cover of night when it’s darker out and spookier out,” he said.
There is one resident living along one targeted square who does not believe the new restrictions are needed. Carol Egan says she’s never been bothered by the tours in the eight years she’s lived on Monterey Square.
“It doesn’t bother me at all and I actually like it. I love the ghost tours, whatever they have at night. I actually walk by them all the time. Everyone’s having a great time and it’s part of Savannah,” Egan said.
All feedback about new tour restrictions will be collected and presented to the Tourism Advisory Committee for consideration before a recommendation is made to the Mayor and Aldermen.
Feedback is also being accepted online. No timetable has been released regarding a decision.
Visit here to give feedback or for more information: savannahga.gov/TourRestrictions.