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Dissertation Proposal: Impacts of Tourism in Savannah, Georgia

Chapter I: Introduction
Tourism is the world’s largest industry; a staggering notion considering that tourism, a pastime, has a greater economic impact than the petroleum, food, telecommunication and pharmaceutical industries of the world. The World Trade Organization (WTO, 2015), states in its annual report that there are in excess of one billion international travelers every year, and the annual financial impact is the equivalent of more than 6.5 trillion dollars. To place these numbers in perspective, this equivocates to one in seven of the world’s population traveling internationally every year and tourism financially out produces every nation in the world with the exception of the United States and China. In addition, tourism is expected to continue to grow rapidly; by 2020 experts expect travelers to increase to more than 1.5 billion and cash receipts to more than double (Harrill & Potts, 2003).
The definition of tourism has taken on many forms as it has evolved over the years. Harrill and Potts (2003) describe tourism as the “invisible” industry that encompasses the aspects of entertainment, lodging and transportation. According to Goeldner and Ritchie (2009), tourism is the activities, services, and industries that deliver a travel experience. Tourism encompasses a larger swath of influence than just entertainment, lodging and transportation; tourism includes restaurants, casinos, shopping malls, cruise ships, auto rentals, taxis, banks and currency exchange facilities, sporting activities, medical clinics and churches (Fleckenstein & Huebsch, 1999). It is important to distinguish that tourism is far more difficult to compartmentalize as an industry than a clearly defined and regulated industry such as petroleum. The costs of the petroleum industry are easy to define because the industry involves the drilling, refining, transportation and distribution of petroleum products. Tourism, due to its broad impact and secondary effects is more difficult to define and thus the need to study it further. Tourism in a community can create jobs, introduce new market opportunities, and can support and sustain entire communities. Tourism however is fragile and can be completely wiped out by a natural disaster, bad reputation, competitive alternatives or even loss of interest by the tourists.
As governments, businesses and other organizations realize the ability of tourism to contribute to economic development, an increasing amount of research is being developed addressing the phenomenon (Oviedo-Garcia, Castellanos-Verdugo, & Martin-Ruiz, 2008). This study encompasses a literature review focused on tourism literature that addresses the perceptions of the citizens of Savannah, Georgia about the economic, sociocultural, and environmental impacts of tourism. The perceptions of a community are quite important to the sustainment of any endeavor, tourism notwithstanding, and the researcher intends to prove that significant differences in perceptions exist among different demographics when it comes to an industry as invasive as tourism. This introduction chapter is an overview of the research that is in progress and the chapter is divided into the following sub-sections:

History of tourism.
History of the city of Savannah.
The Problem.
Purpose and significance of study.
Research design, questions and hypothesis.
Assumptions and limitations.
Operational definitions.
Importance of study.

History of Tourism
The history of tourism begins with travel; which mankind has been doing since time immemorial. Tourism is definitely set apart and different from that of normal travel or exploration, in that it benefits from established systems so that the traveler is protected from dangers and difficulties that a normal traveler would be exposed to (Tourism, 2015). Zuelow (2008) identifies the aspects of the history of travel as encompassing the activities of migration, quests, military campaigns, trade, and many other activities that included seeking knowledge of the unknown. Mankind has always expressed curiosity for the unknown and has been seen in the exploration of the New World in 1492 and space exploration with the missions to the Moon in the 1960s.
Ancient peoples as far back as the Sumerians in 4000 B.C.E., traveled and explored and even developed currency to facilitate the process of the exchange for goods (Goeldner & Ritchie, 2009). The Sumerians are given the credit for using money as a business transaction in lieu of the barter for the purpose of lodging and transportation and the Sumerians are also accredited as the founders of travel business (Goeldner & Ritchie, 2009).
Religious pilgrimages in Eastern cultures have also been identified as influencing travel. Buddhist monks have been traveling to religious sites for enlightenment and wisdom, beginning more than 2000 years ago. The need for the monks to have roads to travel and lodging has helped to establish trade routes and a hospitality system (Tourism, 2015). The Muslim “Hajj” to Mecca and Medina also has its antecedents in religious pilgrimages. Every Muslim in their lifetime must make their pilgrimage to the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, which results in other significant sites in Islam such as Jerusalem being visited more frequently as well. In Western civilization the Romans and Greeks also divulged in what was referred to as “heritage tourism” (Tourism, 2015), where citizens would travel to significant historical and cultural sites. This respect and homage to the Greek culture helped in its preservation and was instrumental in the Romans adopting many Greek customs, religion and utilizing Greek as the trade language due to the widespread use. In literature, the inspiration of Homer’s Odyssey may have been influential in promoting these activities as well.
Modern day tourism is generally accredited to have begun in the 18th century with the development of modern coinage and rail systems, in addition to the development of the event known as The Grand Tour. The Grand Tour was a coming of age ritual established in England for young aristocrats who were required to travel and learn to make them well-rounded gentlemen and groom them for leadership (Zuelow, 2008). By the mid-19th century rail systems were well established and the steamship helped to provide comfort, speed and affordability to travel. (Tourism, 2015). During the 20th century the World Wars made the world a much smaller place and borders were not such definitive barriers as before, and the increased transportation lanes that had been established exponentially increased all forms of travel as well as introducing air travel (Tourism, 2015).
Today tourism is a multi-trillion-dollar industry worldwide and is becoming increasingly intensive and commercially organized (Tourism, 2015). Modern day tourism includes day trippers, beach excursions, cruises, historical tours, theme parks and shows. Vacationing just for relaxation dominates the average citizen’s intent for vacation and the advent of technology has given mankind a larger portion of free time to take excursions for sheer pleasure. The proliferation of tourism shows that there are economic, demographic, environmental and cultural significances and its growth cannot be ignored, more importantly tourism must become a deliberate effort in strategic planning.
History of the City of Savannah
Savannah is known for its rich history and the majority of tourist activity in the city centers around the preserved historical sites and locations. It is important to establish the reasons why so many tourists are interested in the city’s history to better understand the tourism industry and market that has thrived so well in the modern era.
Colonial Period:
The city of Savannah has a rich history that spans back to the colonial era and was an important and instrumental logistical center and port of supply for both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. The City of Savannah’s history began in 1733, when General James Oglethorpe and his nearly 120 passengers on the heavy galley “Anne” landed on a bluff along the Savannah River (Visit Savannah, 2016). General Oglethorpe’s mission was to strengthen trade for England in the new colonies, as well as to offer opportunities for the increasing poor population in England. General Oglethorpe named the new colony “Georgia” as an homage to the reigning monarch King George II. Georgia became the 13th English colony in the new world, and Savannah was to be its first city. Strategically, Georgia was to be a buffer zone between colonial South Carolina and the Spanish held Florida, due to concerns of Spanish expansion into the area. (Visit Historic Savannah, 2016).
General Oglethorpe and his crew were greeted by the Yamacraw Native Americans led by the imposingly tall Chief Tomochichi. The Yamacraw tribe was expecting Oglethorpe’s expedition, due to their relations with the colonial trader Mary Musgrove (World Guides, 2016). Mary Musgrove is one of the few female traders to be mentioned in history during this period, and to be credited with such an instrumental role in the colonization of the West. Chief Tomochichi established a close relationship with General Oglethorpe, as well as the Yamacraw tribe with the settlers. The Yamacraw tribe was instrumental in the survival of the settlers and the building and establishment of the city of Savannah (New Georgia Encyclopedia, 2015). Many Native American tribes were friendly to the European settlers, but the planning and building of the city of Savannah is one of the rare and earliest stories of mutual cooperation in societal development between the cultures during this era.
The City of Savannah was to be the first planned city in the New World and a system of 24 public squares was established to create lots, and areas of trade and meeting throughout the city. Of the original 24 public squares, 22 still exist today (Visit Savannah, 2016). The city’s layout in a grid system was perfect for the processing and packaging of cotton and silk, both of which were exported extensively, and brought fortune to the city. Savannah quickly arose along with its sister city of Charleston, South Carolina as the primary trade ports in the southern colonies (World Guides, 2016). The formal laws of the town were simple, and included the following bans that remain interesting cultural indicators (New Georgia Encyclopedia, 2015):

“Spirituous liquors”: a ban from spirits that would compromise a man of good faith’s inhibitions, that included rum and brandy, but wine and beer were excluded from the restriction.
Slavery: banned until 1750, and was intended to prevent a lazy and idle upper class.
Lawyers: banned until 1755; according to the Visit Historic Savannah website (2016), the city trustees and leaders justified the ban to be “…free from that pest and scourge of humankind, called lawyers”.
A law for peace with the Native Americans: a ban on conflict with the local tribes; a testament to the relationship the colonists had with the Yamacraw.

The early history of Savannah saw a diversity of people and religious backgrounds. In addition to the English settlers, Savannah experienced Jewish settlers from Europe, Lutherans from Salzburg, Scottish Highlanders, Dutch and Irish settlers. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church came and established a Methodist congregation in Savannah. The Methodist movement in Savannah saw the founding of Bethesda, the first orphanage in America. (New Georgia Encyclopedia, 2015).
Revolutionary War Period:
The strained relations between the British colonies in the New World and the British government during the late 1760s was indicative that conflict was inevitable. Savannah was a major port in the southern colonies and a strategic location for both sides of the conflict during the War of American Independence. Savannah saw the fervor of independence through a group call the “Liberty Boys,” who fashioned themselves after the “Sons of Liberty” and met frequently at Tondee’s Tavern to network and make battle plans (New Georgia Encyclopedia, 2015).
Savannah was taken by British forces in 1778 and the city was attempted to be sieged by a combination force of colonials, French and Native Americans in 1779. The force included 22 naval vessels and more than 4000 soldiers (Visit Historic Savannah, 2016). The battle resulted in more nearly 1500 lost lives and was regarded as one of the bloodiest battles of the American Revolutionary War. The attacking force failed due the British focus on defending and holding the city because of its importance to supply lines; the strategic location of Savannah as a port was once again realized. In 1782 After the Revolutionary War, Savannah was retaken by the American unit the Georgia Legion and was established as the first capital of Georgia (New Georgia Encyclopedia, 2015). Ten years after the Revolutionary War, in the year of 1793, Eli Whitney a Yale graduate invented the cotton gin in Mulberry Grove, a Savannah plantation. The cotton gin was one of the inventions that helped to kick start the Industrial Revolution and Savannah was a prime spot for the surge in production and trade (Visit Historic Savannah, 2016).
Civil War Period:
In 1861, Georgia became the fifth state to secede from the Union and began preparations for another inevitable war. The city was aware of its strategic importance already an as the storm of war began to loom, the city leaders were sure that there would be conflict in the deepest regions of the South. Many years prior to the Civil War, a young lieutenant name Robert E. Lee, oversaw some of the construction of the assumed “impregnable” Fort Pulaski, the primary fort guarding the Savannah River (New Georgia Encyclopedia, 2015).
Sea blockades were so extensive during the civil war that Savannah’s economy began to decline rapidly. The city leaders made a critical error in 1862 when all of the ships in the harbor belonging to the state of New York were seized due to that state’s refusal to release a ship laden with rifles to the City of Savannah. Union forces bombarded Fort Pulaski with the newly procured rifled cannons and the fort’s commander surrendered due to the overwhelming damage that the guns had delivered. The Union’s rifled cannons were so effective that the old style of fortification with wood and barricades was abandoned due to the ineffectiveness in protecting against the new guns (World Guides, 2016).
Savannah’s participation in the Civil War ended in 1864 during General Tecumseh Sherman’s infamous “March to the Sea”. General Sherman had a force of over 60,000 soldiers, that spanned 30 miles wide and 300 miles long (Visit Historic Savannah, 2016). Sherman sieged and burned every city from Chattanooga, Atlanta, Macon and to the city limits of Savannah. General Sherman was unopposed when his forces entered the city of Savannah and according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia (2015), he was enthralled with the beauty of the city, especially its grand oaks and Spanish moss. Sherman spared the city from destruction. Sherman camped his troops throughout the city of Savannah after their long trek of destruction and during this time he wrote the famous telegram to President Lincoln offering Savannah as a Christmas gift along with 25,000 bales of cotton (Visit Historic Savannah, 2016).
Savannah resumed its role as a boom town of trade after the Civil War. This era saw the establishment of the Savannah Cotton Exchange that was accepted as the world’s center for cotton trade and the price setter for the industry (New Georgia Encyclopedia, 2015).
Savannah’s Preservation:
By the 1950s modernization resulted in the destruction of many historic sites across the United States and Savannah fell victim to economic growth, that resulted in the construction of parking garages and modern business buildings as well as other infrastructure developments. In 1955 The Savannah Historic Foundation was formed and the society began to raise funds to purchase historic landmarks and lobby the city and county to pass laws to preserve buildings of historical significance (Visit Historic Savannah, 2016). By the 1970s, millions of dollars had been raised to purchase building along the Savannah riverfront, in addition the founding of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) was instrumental in the restoration of over 40 historic buildings throughout the city (Visit Historic Savannah, 2016). Some of the significant buildings that were preserved include (Visit Savannah, 2016):

The First African Baptist Church: founded in 1788.
The birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low: founder of the Girl Scouts of America.
The Pirates’ House: mentioned in the book Treasure Island.
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist: one of the largest and most visited Roman Catholic churches in the South.
The Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences: founded in 1812, was one of the first established public museums in the South.
The Pink House: The first established bank in the state of Georgia.

These preservation efforts paved the way for tourism becoming the prolific industry that is today in the city.
Modern Savannah:
Commerce and the industrial complex is thriving in modern day Savannah. The area has major production facilities from companies such as Mitsubishi, International Paper and the Gulfstream Aerospace Company’s production facility and headquarters. Gulfstream is regarded as the best business/luxury jets in the world and has developed the world’s first business jet to break the sound barrier (Gulfstream, 2016). The Savannah harbor and Georgia Ports Authority have the distinguished honor of being one the largest cargo ports in the United States and are in expansion efforts along with the dredging of the Savannah River that will result in the port ranking in the top five U.S. ports within the next five years (Georgia Ports Authority, 2016).
Savannah has distinguished itself through the support of the military through local unit deployments to Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Fort Stewart just outside of the city of Savannah and Hunter Army Airfield are military bases that house the mighty 3rd Infantry Division, Task Force 160th (Special Operations), and the Coast Guard special rescue unit.
Tourism is the leading industry in the city bringing more than six million visitors a year (Visit Savannah, 2016). In addition to visitors throughout the peak tourism season, Savannah’s Saint Patrick’s Day celebration is the second largest only to New York City’s celebration and is said to rival Mardis Gras in size an activity, bringing around 300,000 visitors to the city every year. The vacationer’s website TripAdvisor describes Savannah as “Charming with antebellum hospitality” (TripAdvisor, 2016). Modern Savannah has a lot to offer the modern traveler and it is evident that tourism will continue to thrive in this community and great focus is necessary to manage it effectively.
The Problem
The major problem that exists with tourism, is that since it is the largest of the world’s industries with billions of dollars in revenue, then it is to be assumed that this industry should have the greatest impact as to economic development and the reduction of poverty in the communities that it exists in. In Savannah, Georgia alone in 2014, there were over 13.4 million visitors that generated over $2.5 billion dollars in spending (City of Savannah, 2015). Savannah sells itself on Southern hospitality and charm, as well as being designated by the Huffington Post’s one of the “coziest” cities in America (City of Savannah, 2015). The reality of the matter is that Savannah has very high crime rates, a large populace beneath the poverty line and poor school systems. The gap that exists within this study are where the perceived benefits of tourism are and where the actual benefit exists.
Tourism in Georgia is a large revenue source, The Georgia Department of Economic Development (2015), states that tourism contributed $53.6 billion dollars in economic development for the state, and that in 2013 statistics revealed that more than 411,000 residents worked in the tourism industry. Tourism also accounts for $2.8 billion dollars in tax revenue in the state, which equates to a savings to Georgia residents of $770 in annual taxes per household (Georgia Department of Economic Development 2015). Within the state of tourism is also very prolific in the city of Savannah, according to Roberts (2015), almost one-quarter (24%) of all tourist’ activity in the state of Georgia is in the city of Savannah.
The average American citizen does not know all of the exact impacts of tourism, but the perceptions exist that tourism brings in enormous revenue and is instrumental in economic development. In addition, the average citizen may or may not be aware that tourism impacts the local environment through increased pollution and waste, as well as the wear and tear on municipal infrastructure. According to researchers Beladi, Chao, Hazari and Laffargue (2009) there exists strong incentives for tourist beneficiaries such as hotels, to build in prime locations regardless of the environmental impacts. An agency issue exists when businesses seek to increase profits and the log-term environmental impacts of their business endeavors will eventually be passed on to the local citizens.
Lastly tourism can change the socio-cultural aspects of a society as well. The loss or change of cultural identity can result as the flow of tourism increases as well as citizens becoming disenfranchised with the community. According to Richins (August 01, 2009), it is important for a community that relies on tourism as a source of income and economic sustainment, to attempt to achieve empowerment and commitment of citizens to assist in tourism development. Richins (2009), further expounds that development processes and inclusive decision-making are essential sub-areas for community involvement and effective governance of the local tourism industry. The gap that exists between the perceptions of the impacts of tourism and the actual reality of those impacts are what this study intends to address.
The Purpose and Significance of the Study
The purpose of this study is to assess the perceptions of the benefits and value-added elements of tourism of the residents of Savannah, Georgia. Addressing the aspects of the economic, environmental and socio-cultural impacts of tourism will be the centralized focus. Savannah was once the largest city in Georgia and is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the southeastern United States. Researchers Gursoy and Rutherford (2004) have surmised that it is essential to evaluate and understand how residents of a society formulate their attitudes and the perceived benefits and detriments of tourism. The attitudes of tourism of a community like Savannah, Georgia, will help to further develop or depredate the tourism industry proportionate to the level of acceptance or rejection of tourism itself. There are many stakeholders at hand within a community as large as Savannah, according to the United States Census Bureau (2014) the city has approximately 144,000 citizens within the city limits and over 300,000 in the greater Savannah areas.
Research Design and Questions
The research design uses the quantitative research method, with the instrument being a random sampling survey method given to 200 or more citizens of Savannah, Georgia. Creswell (2009) defines the quantitative method as perceptions, opinions, or trends of a population by surveying a sample portion of the population. This study will utilize a formatted bank of questions to collect data from the population that will be administered by the primary researcher and an assistant trained in confidentiality, continuity and the integrity of the research.
The researcher intends to use a predetermined instrument from Frater (1996), that has been utilized in previous research and request authorization is pending. Frater’s instrument will be modified by the primary researcher to address the specifics of Savannah, Georgia and the independent variables of those who are decision makers that impact the tourism industry and those that work in the tourism industry as well. The researcher intends to modify and expand the research to include the variables of tourism professionals and local politicians, of which have not been used with this instrument. The researcher will be obtaining permission to use the instrument from Dr. Frater, who utilized the same instrument to address the perceptions of the impact of tourism in Jamaica.
The distribution of the test will first involve the training and briefing of test administration proxies. These test administration proxies will be volunteers from local universities, Armstrong State University, Savannah State University, Saint Leo University-Savannah, and the Savannah Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) who will be trained by the researcher on test administration, confidentiality and proper chain of custody of the research materials. All measures to ensure the integrity of the research materials will be addressed, to include proper handling and administration of the questionnaires throughout the entire data collection process. The test administration proxies will be required to sign a non-disclosure statement and a statement of understanding. All of the questionnaire materials will be submitted to an Instructional Review Board (IRB) for approval prior to distribution.
The administering of the exam will be in public places, randomly selected in various locations of Savannah, to include grocery stores, parks, malls, shopping areas and the Historical District of the city. Care will be taken to choose areas that are frequented by a broad demographic such as a Kroger grocery market that is more likely to have a greater propensity for diversity than a Publix grocery market, that tends to be frequented by a higher income demographic in the state of Georgia. A sampling size of at least 200 residents is sought and the questionnaires must be fully filled out to qualify as a submission. Participants must at least verbally declare that they are citizens of Savannah prior to taking the questionnaire and they must provide a government issued identification to ensure that they are at least eighteen (18) years of age. A random sampling approach is the intent of the procedure and there will be no intended targeting of local politicians and decision makers as well as those working in the tourism industry. If the test administration proxies are operating outside of a business, they will first get verbal permission to distribute the questionnaires and the proxies will ensure that there is available space, tables and provided writing utensils provided for the filling out of the questionnaires. All properly filled out questionnaires will be collected by the researcher at the end of each day. Any questionnaire that was compromised or did not meet any of the established criteria will be discard. Once the researcher has collected more than 200 questionnaires that have met all standards, then the data processing will begin. The researcher intends to complete the data collection process between three (3) and no more than six (6) weeks.
The data processing will be a Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS 20.0) program that will provide the necessary quantitative relationships and frequency distributions. The questions will be analyzed to determine if there are relationships with the hypothesis and assumptions of the study, as well as the validity and pertinence of the information. The questionnaire will consist of thirty-six (36) questions, using a five level Likert scale that ranges from completely disagree (1) agree to completely disagree (5). The research questions developed by Frater (2006) are intended to coincide to be measured comparatively to the economic, environmental and sociocultural aspects and are the dependent variables in this study. The independent variables this researcher intends to measure are: age, level of education, employment, gender, income, employment in the tourism industry and political decision positions. Once all questions have been input and processed by the SPSS software, the results will be compared and analyzed by the researcher with the following research questions and their corresponding hypothesis:
The questions and corresponding hypotheses:
Question. 1: Are there differences in residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia?
Hypothesis. 1: Yes, residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia will differ.
Question. 2: Are there differences in residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia according to age?
Hypothesis. 2: Yes, residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia will differ according to age.
Question. 3: Are there differences in residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia according to level of education?
Hypothesis. 3: Yes, residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia will differ according to level of education
Question. 4: Are there differences in residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia according to employment?
Hypothesis. 4: Yes, residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia will differ according to employment.
Question. 5: Are there differences in residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia according to gender?
Hypothesis. 5: Yes, residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia will differ according to gender.
Question. 6: Are there differences in residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia according to income?
Hypothesis. 6: Yes, residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia will differ according to income.
Question. 7: Are there differences in tourism residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia according to employment in a tourism related profession?
Hypothesis. 7: Yes, residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia will differ according to employment in a tourism related profession.
Question. 8: Are there differences in residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia according to employment in political decision making positions?
Hypothesis 8: Yes, residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia will differ according to employment in political decision making positions.
It is hypothesized by this researcher that citizens of Savannah will have significant difference in perceptions of the impacts of tourism. If all things were equal and if the average citizen fully understood the realistic impact of tourism on the city then there might exist a groupthink or paradigm of thinking in the perception of tourism. Since all things are not equal and citizens do not truly understand the impacts of tourism, then the hypotheses reflect that the citizens will have differing perceptions due to bias and lack of education in the field of tourism. The last two question seven (7) and eight (8) relating to the perceptions of those in tourism related professions and those in political decision making positions, are of particular interest because even though it is surmised that those groups will have insight into the industry, that personal bias and how the industry impacts their own interests will also ensure that they have differing perceptions on the impacts of tourism. A collective understanding of the tourism industry could exist within these two demographic groups thus a comparison of these two demographics to all of the other groups will be performed to show that information could be the differences between the perceptions.
Assumptions and Limitations
This study will assume that the established research questions will result in the assumptions of the population will result in the disproval of the null hypothesis that each sector of the populace will not have differing views on the impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia. The assumption exists that the sample population of 200 residents will be adequate enough to represent the attitudes of the entire population of the city as well and also represent the overall perception of the economic, environmental, and sociocultural impact of tourism.
The limitations of the study are first that the sample population may not be an accurate representation of the entire population of Savannah. Even though the researcher will do everything possible to maintain the integrity of the study, those surveyed might suffer from the Hawthorne Effect, by not answering candidly due to them knowing that their answers will be reviewed by another. Creswell (2009) defines limitations as the possible weaknesses of a research study; those conditions and influences that the research cannot control. The findings of the study cannot be applied to all areas of Savannah. Those residents living outside of the historic or downtown districts may not see tourism as a significant contributor to their lifestyles and so may not have definitive opinions on the subject. The study also could be limited by omissions, errors and time sensitive issues.
Operational Definitions
Economic impact: The impact of tourism on employment, foreign investment and earnings, gross output, capital exchange, income, and tax revenue (Goeldner & Ritchie, 2009).
Environmental impact: The impact of tourism on the natural environment to include air, water, noise, pollution, congestion, and the destination’s general ecology (Goeldner & Ritchie, 2009).
Pro-poor Tourism: Tourism that provides some aspect of economic or environmental benefits to the underprivileged.
Sociocultural impact: The impact of tourism on societal concerns such as crime, crowding, culture, materialism, and social conflicts (Goeldner & Ritchie, 2009).
Test administration proxies: Individuals trained and designated to distribute questionnaires for data collection specifically pertinent to this research.
Tourism: The encompassing aspects and business of providing transportation, lodging, food, entertainment, planning amongst other services to facilitate the activities of tourists (Goeldner & Ritchie, 2009).
Importance of the Study
The importance of this study has to do with the ethical decision makers of not just Savannah, Georgia, but with all of the societies that are benefiting from tourism. Tourism is viewed as a tool for economic development but the benefits of this development are not often seen by those who are not directly linked to the tourism activities such as businesses and politicians. Even though there are significant amounts of research that already exists on perceptions of tourism, it is important to address the true beneficiaries of tourist activities. According to Ramkisson and Nunkoo (2011), it cannot be assumed that residents have a full body of knowledge of all of the benefits and disadvantages of tourism, yet a body of research can reveal those residents’ perceptions can reveal how the community reacts and deals with tourism. The success of Savannah’s tourism industry depends on the buy-in of the local population and effects the decisions of planners, businesses and politicians. The researcher intends to add to the current body of work on resident’s perceptions of tourism, and to highlight the smaller community in this field of study.
Chapter II: Summary of Literature
Globalization and advances in transportation have created an environment that will facilitate an increasing growth in tourism and according to Long and Kayat (2011) many nations are seeking to utilize tourism as a tool to combat poverty and to stimulate domestic growth. The problem that exists with the perceived benefits of tourism is that the industry is extremely diverse and not easy to regulate, so the perceived benefits do not always manifest themselves. Domestically the same sentiment of growth and poverty elimination exists, and in cities such as Savannah, Georgia, tourism generates millions of dollars for the city but has not garnered the perceived benefit to the citizen.
For the impact of tourism to be understood the benefits and disadvantages must be addressed. According to Choi and Murray (2010), many of the perceived benefits of tourism are: job generation, greater levels of income, tax revenue, stronger infrastructure, business opportunities and improved standards of living. All of these benefits are significant enough for citizens of a community to desire the increase in tourism but the perception of these benefits do not always equate to realistic expectations. Tourism may positively impact communities, but Harrill and Potts (2003) also address the negative impacts of tourism that include increase in crime, unsafe traffic conditions, alcohol issues and increased illicit drug traffic.
The combination of the positive and negative impacts of tourism affect the attitudes of the local population. Citizen attitudes about tourism is a subject that has been extensively researched in recent years due to its increased proliferation (Andereck & Vogt, January 01, 2000). This study will be an extension of previous work done on the resident attitudes on tourism and will focus on the primary areas of economic, environmental and sociocultural effects and the resident response. This study will be a quantitative approach using a random sampling of the population with a standardized survey that will address the differing opinions of citizenry due to their socio-economic status, gender, age amongst other variables to assess the perception pertaining to the benefit or harm that tourism may bring to the community. The city of Savannah, Georgia; a vibrant community ripe with tourist activity will be used as a test bed for this research.
The economic impacts of tourism have a large body of research and the general perceptions that exist according to Choi and Murray (2010) of tourism tend to be positive and that there are many benefits that coincide with an increase in tourism. Choi and Murray (2010) discuss that citizens regardless of demographic aspects of age, gender, education, employment, level of income, relation to tourism industry and political position all tend to agree that revenue from tourism will result in a cleaner community, preservation of historical landmarks, and an increase in assets of the community itself. Adversely however the aspects of the condition of the community and visual aesthetics. Choi and Murray (2010) also postulate that those who have the most to benefit from the economic gains are far more likely to support and promote tourism, whereas those that do not directly benefit are more neutral in their perception, a position that is also supported by researchers Andereck and Vogt (2000). People working in the tourism industry could perceive tourism favorably regardless of the true impacts of the local economy because of job security. In addition, those in political positions could always use the perceived benefits of tourism as leverage to promote their own success in decision making and community planning. One major issue that stems from a community’s economic dependence on tourism is that due to other factors such as a rapid decline in tourism or adverse environmental impacts, then tourism could be an unstainable economic support model for the community.
An overlooked by-product of tourism is the environmental impacts that activities of tourism have on a community. According to researchers Beladi, Chao, Hazari and Laffargue (January 01, 2009), tourism creates an exploitation of local resources and causes excessive pollution and the destruction of natural habitats. These environmental costs are passed on to the local community to fix with tax dollars, creating a situation of addressing the marginal utility of the benefits of tourism and its generation revenue in comparison to the costs in expenses to repair and sustain the local environment. The environmental impacts of tourism are seldom well managed and regulated from governmental leadership at all levels and if not planned and managed the damage could end up being beyond repair or decay the redeeming qualities of the community that draws tourism researchers (Beladi, et,. al., 2009). Considering the perceptions of citizens based on the demographics of age, gender, education, employment and level of income, it would be assumed that negative environmental effects would be directly proportional to negative perceptions regardless of which demographic the citizen was categorized. The perception of negative environmental effects in relation to those in the tourism industry and those in decision making political position could be a little more unpredictable due to the nature of the relationship. According to Cohen (2008), the rapid expansion of tourism in modern culture raises some increasingly serious problems such as the gobbling up of commodities to fuel the tourist’s high level of consumption. Since sustainability is a key factor to the benefits of tourism then all stakeholders should be concerned about how tourism impacts their local environment.
Just as the environmental impacts of tourism get overlooked so do the socio-cultural impacts of tourism. As globalization permeates the world’s societies the local culture; that include language, customs and traditions, gets set aside to accommodate the perceived benefits that tourism brings. Richins (August 01, 2009), addresses the problems with tourism saturating the culture of a society and for local culture to survive there must be social cohesion and a sense of community. The socio-culture impacts might erode so slowly that the local populace may not notice the change and their perceptions of the impacts may not be as acute. The demographics addressed in this study of age, gender, education, employment and level of income, might have differing perceptions of the socio-cultural impacts of tourism but the demographic of age might have a particularly different perception due to the length of exposure to the phenomenon.
The ethics of tourism within a community will also be addressed because the citizens of a community are stakeholders in both the benefits and harm of tourism. Many of the community stakeholders may not have input on who makes the moral and political choices that guide and govern local tourism and to whom the benefit of these choices are directed (Bramwell, Lane, McCabe, Mosedale, & Scarles, 2008). Enveloped with the impacts and ethical issues of tourism is the aspect of sustainability. The expected growth of tourism has sparked volumes of research but other aspects such as the environmental impacts and the cultural saturation that happens with tourism have caused many researchers to address the long term sustainability of tourism. The sustainability of tourism is of chief concern especially with the volatile nature of the modern world. Terrorists attacks, 9/11, natural disasters and epidemics have not been successful at deterring travel significantly (Lansing & DeVries, 2007).
Chapter III: Research Design
The design of this research is a quantitative approach using the survey method of data collection. According to   Lavrakas (2008), a survey is an instrument that gathers information from a sample or subset of a population. Surveys have been instrumental I both gathering information and assist in decision making. The design for this research is not experimental and will be a cross-sectional distribution, intended for a broad sampling of the population of the residents of Savannah, Georgia.
The researcher intends to utilize the instrument established by Dr. Frater (2006), who explored the perceptions of tourism in the nation of Jamaica. Upon completion of the comprehensive exam and the writing of the first three chapters of the dissertation, a formal request for Dr. Frater’s instrument will be initiated. The survey will be modified to include questions inclusive of the variables of political decision makers and those individuals who work in the tourism industry. The survey will be administered through trained proxies to ensure no bias or influence exists from the researcher administering the data instrument.
The data will be processed with T-test comparisons and an Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) utilizing the latest software package of IBM’s Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). The SPSS program will calculate the appropriate predictive analytics that will be further assessed and defined by the researcher. The questions will be thoroughly examined by the researcher to determine relationships to the established hypotheses and assumptions of the study. The research questions that originated from Dr. Frater (2006) are intended by the researcher to be comparatively measured to the economic, environmental and sociocultural aspects of the study. The researcher will compile all of these results into a cohesive and pertinent presentation of the local populace’s perceptions of tourism in the region.
Research Questions and Methodology
As addressed above the research design utilizes a quantitative research method and the instrument is random sampling survey method. The survey will be administered to 200 local residents of Savannah, Georgia to ascertain their perceptions of the impacts of tourism in the city. Lavrakas (2008) describes the survey method as having two defining characteristics: the first being the sample that is taken from the population and the other as structured questions utilized to gather information. The dependent variables of this study are economic, environmental and sociocultural aspects and the independent variables this researcher intends to measure are: age, level of education, employment, gender, income, employment in the tourism industry and political decision positions.
The questions:

Are there differences in residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia?
Are there differences in residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia according to age?
Are there differences in residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia according to level of education?
Are there differences in residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia according to employment?
Are there differences in residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia according to gender?
Are there differences in residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia according to income?
Are there differences in tourism residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia according to employment in a tourism related profession?
Are there differences in residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia according to employment in political decision making positions?


Demographic Characteristics
1. Age
2. Education
3. Employment
4. Gender
5. Income
6. Decision Maker
7. Employment in Tourism

Perceptions of the Impacts:
1. Economic
2. Environmental
3. Socio-cultural

Positive perceptions: Supports tourism.

Negative perceptions: Does not support tourism.

Independent Variables:
Age, Education, Employment, Gender, Income, Decision Maker, Employment in Tourism

Dependent Variables:
Economic, Environmental, Socio-cultural

Social Exchange Theory: The human relationship subjective cost benefit analysis and comparison of alternatives.

Figure 1: Theoretical Framework of the Perceptions of Tourism
Assumptions and Limitations
The assumptions that exist in this study is the survey will be an adequate instrument to assess the sample population of Savannah, Georgia to disprove the null hypothesis. The null hypothesis is that each of the independent variables will not have different opinions of the tourism within the city. An assumption also exists that the randomly selected residents will be adequate in number and variability. The results of the study should show definitive patterns to ensure validity.
The limitations that exist in the study is that the sample size could not be enough for a mid-sized city such as Savannah, Georgia and that a larger sample size might be required for this study and future research. In addition, Savannah is a significantly sized city and all areas of the city are not impacted the same by tourism. Residents living near the historic district of Savannah may have a much deeper bias due to property values, traffic, and availability of parking. Residents living outside of the tourist areas may not have a significant opinion on tourism due to the low level of impact to their personal lives. Other limitations that exists are compromise of research due to uncontrollable elements as well as omissions and errors, of which the researcher will address as they occur.
The procedures for this study will be a random sampling of the population of approximately 200 residents in the city of Savannah, Georgia. The surveys (see Appendix A), will be distributed through three or four proxy representatives that will be trained, briefed and have signed a non-disclosure agreement as well as a statement of understanding that will have been submitted and approved through the Instructional Review Board (IRB). An IRB will also be required for the survey itself due to the utilization of people as test subjects. The IRB requests will be submitted immediately on the approval of the dissertation committee. The citizens approached for the study will have to produce a valid government issued identification to ensure that they are legal adults at least of the age of eighteen (18) years of age and must have to verbally state that they are local citizens.
All citizens will be randomly selected in the downtown as well as other areas of Savannah, and will includes malls, restaurants, shopping areas, historical areas and residential areas in a volunteer, minimally solicited manner. The selections sites of the survey will be carefully selected to ensure a robust and diverse demographic. The sites will those areas that do not cater to a specific demographic relating to the independent variables of this study. A chain of custody will be kept with the surveys and all participation will be confidential and no information or material will be released to any outside source until the entire dissertation is complete. The participants will be given a consent form prior to filling out the survey and the participants will be given adequate time to complete the surveys. All survey materials will be kept on hand and destroyed after three years after the completion of the dissertation. The surveys will then be compiled and the data entry will be conducted by the researcher into the current SPSS data processing system for analysis and further evaluation.
Data Processing and Analysis
The survey data input into the SPSS software will coincide with the questions of the study. As described above T-test comparing specific independent variables and a one-way ANOVA will be utilized as the test parameters to more than two variables being compared in the study. Fifty (50) questions one through ten will identify the independent variables relating to the research questions and identify which demographic category that the surveyed will be assessed. The survey questions will include a progressing Likert scale measured in five levels that will include: 1-completely disagree, 2-disagree, 3-neither agree or disagree, 4-agree, and 5-completely agree. The rest of the survey will address the level of perceptions of the impact of tourism.
After all inputs have been processed the researcher will interpret the data and compare to the established hypotheses and assumptions that have been established. Each null hypothesis coincides with each research question and are as follows:

Residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism will differ in Savannah, Georgia.
Residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia will differ according to age
Residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia will differ according to level of education.
Residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia will differ according to employment.
Residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia will differ according to gender.
Residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia will differ according to income.
Residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia will differ according to employment in a tourism related profession.
Residents’ perceptions of the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in Savannah, Georgia will differ according to employment in political decision making positions.

Summary of Methodology
In summary, this research has been established to assess the perceptions of the citizens of Savannah, Georgia on the impact of tourism on the economic, environmental and cultural aspects of the local society. A quantitative research approach of a random sampling survey questionnaire will be the primary instrument in data collection. The data collection will involve a distribution via proxy representatives that will seek participants in various locations throughout the city. Once 200 or more completely filled out surveys are collected, the data will be input into an SPSS software program to mathematically process the data. The researcher will then assess the results and compare those results to the hypotheses and assumptions established in the study. The culmination of the study will result in a fluid process that will garner information that can be used for decision making and further research. The consideration of future research to give additional validity to this study could be a comparison between a similar sized city such as Charleston, South Carolina. Savannah and Charleston are sister cities with a parallel history and comparing the results from Charleston could support or refute the results collected in Savannah.
Andereck, K. L., & Vogt, C. A. (January 01, 2000). The Relationship between Residents’ Attitudes toward Tourism and Tourism Development Options. Journal of Travel Research, 39, 1, 27-36.
Beladi, H., Chao, C.-C., Hazari, B. R., & Laffargue, J.-P. (January 01, 2009). Tourism and the environment. Resource and Energy Economics, 31, 1, 39-49.
Bramwell, B., Lane, B., McCabe, S., Mosedale, J., & Scarles, C. (2008). Editorial: Research Perspectives on Responsible Tourism. Journal Of Sustainable Tourism, 16(3), 253-257.
Choi, H. C., & Murray, I. (2010). Resident attitudes toward sustainable community tourism. Journal Of Sustainable Tourism, 18(4), 575-594.
City of Savannah. (2015). Savannah tourism snapshot report. Retrieved from http://www.savannahga.gov/tourism.
Cohen, E. (2008). The Changing Faces of Contemporary Tourism. Society, 45(4), 330-333. doi:10.1007/s12115-008-9108-2.
Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications Inc.
Fleckenstein, M. P., & Huebsch, P. (1999). Ethics in Tourism-Reality or Hallucination. Journal Of Business Ethics, 19(1), 137-142.
Frater, J. L. (1996). Residents’ perceptions of the impact of tourism in Jamaica. Temple University (Doctoral dissertation). (UMI No. 9706962).
Georgia Department of Economic Development. (2015). Tourism industry research. Retrieved from http://www.georgia.org/industries/georgia-tourism/industry-research/.
Georgia Ports Authority. (2016). Home page website. Retrieved from http://www.gaports.com/.
Goeldner, C. R. & Ritchie, J. R. B. (2009). Tourism: Principles, practices, and philosophies (11th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Gulfstream. (2016). Home page website. Retrieved from http://www.gulfstream.com/.
Gursoy, D., & Rutherford, D. G. (2004). Host attitudes toward tourism: An improved structural model. Annals of Tourism Research, 31(3), 495-516.
Harrill, R., & Potts, T. D. (2003). Tourism Planning in Historic Districts. Journal Of The American Planning Association, 69(3), 233.
Lansing, P., & DeVries, P. (2007). Sustainable Tourism: Ethical Alternative or Marketing Ploy?. Journal Of Business Ethics, 72(1), 77-85. doi:10.1007/s10551-006-9157-7.
Lavrakas, P. J. (2008). Encyclopedia of survey research methods. Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE Publications.
Long, P., & Kayat, K. (2011). Resident’s perceptions of tourism impact and their supportfor tourism development: the case study of Cuc Phuong National Park, Ninh Binh province, Vietnam. European Journal of Tourism Research, 4(2), 123-146.
New Georgia Encyclopedia. (2015). Savannah. Retrieved from http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/counties-cities-neighborhoods/savannah.
Oviedo-Garcia, M. A., Castellanos-Verdugo, M., & Martin-Ruiz, D. (2008). Gaining residents‘ support for tourism and planning. International Journal of Tourism Research, 10, 95-109.
Ramkisson, H., & Nunkoo, R. (2011). City image and perceived tourism impact: Evidence from Port Louis, Mauritius. International Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Administration, 12 (2), 123-143.
Richins, H. (August 01, 2009). Environmental, cultural, economic and socio-community sustainability: a framework for sustainable tourism in resort destinations. Environment, Development and Sustainability : a Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, 11, 4, 785-800.
Roberts, H. (2015). Facts on tourism in Georgia. USA Today. Retrieved from http://traveltips.usatoday.com/tourism-georgia-54382.html.
Tourism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/tourism.
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Visit Historic Savannah. (2016). Savannah History. Retrieved from http://www.visit-historic-savannah.com/savannah-history.html.
World Guides. (2016). Savannah History Facts and Timeline. Retrieved from http://www.world-guides.com/north-america/usa/georgia/savannah/savannah_history.html.
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Zuelow, E. (2008). Modern tourism analysis. Unpublished manuscript, Department of History, New England University, Biddeford, ME.
Appendix A (Survey Questionnaire)

Where do you live?

Outside of Savannah

Are you:


What is the highest level of education you have completed?

Primary/Elementary or Middle School
High/Secondary School
College Certificate/Diploma
Bachelor’s Degree
Graduate Degree (Masters/Doctorate)

Are you currently:


If you answered “1” to previous question, do you work:

Directly in the Tourism Industry
In a business that directly depends on tourism
In a business not directly dependent on tourism.
In a business totally independent of tourism

Do you own your own business?


What was your household monthly income in 2015?

Under $15,500
Over $100,000

Are you:

Single/never married

How old were you on January 1, 2016? ____________ Years.
How long have you lived in the community indicated in question number one (1)? __________ Years.


Do you currently work for the city or county government in a capacity that you have decision making authority that could impact the tourism industry in Savannah, Georgia?



Below are statements about tourism in Savannah. Please read each item carefully and circle the number that indicates how much you agree or disagree with each statement. The key that follows indicates what each number means. There or no right or wrong answers. Regardless of what your response may be useful conducting this study.

= strongly disagree
=neither agree or disagree
= agree
= strongly agree

Savannah is the most beautiful city in the Southeastern United States
1     2     3     4   (5)
In the above example, your answer is number five (5), meaning strongly agree.

The tourism industry has created many jobs for residents of this community.

1     2     3     4     5

Residents’ income levels have been raised because of tourism.

1     2     3     4     5

Attracting more tourists is a good idea for this community.

1     2     3     4     5

Residents have a say in the planning and development in this community.

1     2     3     4     5

The money spent to promote tourism could be better spent in the local communities.

1     2     3     4     5

The standard of living in this community has improved because of tourism.

1     2     3     4     5

The community would be a better place without tourism development.

1     2     3     4     5

Tourists are given preference over local residents for local services.

1     2     3     4     5

Tourism disrupts the lifestyle of local residents.

1     2     3     4     5

Tourism helps to educate the residents of Savannah about cultures of the world.

1     2     3     4     5

Tourism gives residents the opportunities to put their culture on display.

1     2     3     4     5

Tourism results in increased drug use in this community.

1     2     3     4     5

Tourism causes pornography to increase in this community.

1     2     3     4     5

Because of tourism, the beauty of this community has improved.

1     2     3     4     5

In general, road conditions have improved because of tourism.

1     2     3     4     5

The local government puts more resources in private beaches that mostly serve tourists.

1     2     3     4     5

In general, tourism has caused a decline in many natural areas of the environment.

1     2     3     4     5

Tourism creates a burden on the resources of this community.

1     2     3     4     5

Tourism is responsible for traffic congestion in this community.

1     2     3     4     5

In general, tourism causes an increase in air pollution.

1     2     3     4     5

This community is kept clean because of tourism.

1     2     3     4     5

Natural areas should not be disturbed for further tourism development.

1     2     3     4     5

Too much emphasis is placed on the development of coastal resorts.

1    2     3     4     5

The reclamation of wetland (swamps) for tourism development is a good idea.

1     2     3     4     5

Jobs and Income created by tourism are more important than the need to preserve the environment.

1     2     3     4    5

I would be willing to sacrifice the environment and culture of the city in favor of the jobs and income to be gained from tourism

1     2     3     4     5

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