The new Savannah International Trade and Convention Center will help to make Savannah the fastest growing city in the state, said Jeffrey M. Humphreys of the University of Georgia in an economic outlook report on Georgia for 2000.  

     Also pushing the city to the economic forefront is it’s port, he said, which is now competing favorably with Charleston, S.C., and Jacksonville, Fla., and whose harbor may be deepened for the second time to make room for larger vessels.

      The city’s “greater integration with the global economy definitely improves its prospects,” according to Dr. Humphreys.

       But don’t expect the growth to come overnight, warns Claudia Arguelles, marketing manager for the center. Savannah’s status as an international tourist destination made the convention center a natural, she said.

      “However, we’ll have to establish ourselves in the national market before we start attracting international groups,” said Ms. Arguelles.

She added that the center’s web site has been showing hits from all over the world.

“And these people are looking at the floor plans, they aren’t just tourists,” she said.

     In a feasibility study by KPMG Peat Marwick, conducted in 1992, the $83 million facility was predicted to contribute $120 million to the local economy in direct and indirect spending annually.

The connecting Westin Savannah Harbor Resort, which includes a golf course and spa, along with the city’s restaurants and other attractions are to produce more than $5 million annually in tax revenues, according to the study. An estimated 1,950 new jobs are also predicted.

      To contact the center, call (912) 233-5222, or fax (912) 233-5225. Its web site is at

      The Savannah Port Authority can be reached at (912) 964-3811. Its web site is located at