SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The return of the St. Patrick’s Day parade brought with it a spike in travel over the weekend.

“We know that our seats overall were up 10% over 2019, which was our highest passenger year up until COVID,” said Director of Marketing and Air Service Development Lori Lynah at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport.

SAV is continuing to see pre-pandemic travel rates — a positive sign for recovery following the sharp decline in tourism in 2020.

“As we see the leisure travelers come back, we know what’s gonna be next is that conference and meeting group, those are gonna really start building back up again and that gives us a really good mix of passengers,” Lynah said.

Savannah/Hilton Head International isn’t just getting more travelers, it’s also getting more airlines and more non-stop flights.

“Breeze coming in and bringing in other destinations and Avelo, and we’ve brought in other airlines in the last year or so, and that’s always our goal,” said Lynah.

A direct flight to Los Angeles is among the new routes.

“That’s our longest flight that we’ve had that’s non-stop and we’re really happy about that,” Lynah added.

The local economy will benefit from this growth, according to the airport marketing director.

“It’s good news for the economy here, it’s good news for the economy in Hilton Head and down to Golden Isles, you know, we reach a broad area,” Lynah explained.

For those planning a trip — having more airlines could mean better rates.

“Bringing in more carriers, more non-stop flights, just more seats in general is gonna make the competition better and help air fares overall,” Lynah said.

She added that the new non-stop routes will help bring more tourism and business to the Hostess City.