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Tall Ships visit to pay a call on Chamber members luncheon
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Joe Marinelli

Joe Marinelli, president of Visit Savannah, will speak to an Effingham Chamber of Commerce membership luncheon on Savannah’s plans for the upcoming Tall Ships Festival that Savannah will host starting May 3.

The April 3 lunch meeting begins at noon at the New Ebenezer Retreat Center and is part of a series of membership meetings hosted by the Effingham Chamber of Commerce.

Tall sailing ships will be berthed in downtown Savannah and available for tours from the public. The last time Savannah hosted a Tall Ships event was in 1998. River Street will take on a nautical air as the festival will include maritime demonstrations, nautical-themed arts and crafts, and entertainment.

With more than 25 years of experience in the tourism and hospitality industry, Marinelli is president of Visit Savannah, formerly known as the Savannah Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB).

Prior to taking the helm of Visit Savannah in January 2007, Marinelli served as


senior vice president at Experience Columbus, the convention bureau for the Columbus, Ohio region.

Before his 10-year stint in Columbus, he served in a number of sales and marketing roles for Westin Hotels and Resorts in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Washington, D.C,, and at the famed Plaza Hotel in New York City.

In his role overseeing Savannah’s primary destination marketing organization, Marinelli and his team focus on attracting both the leisure tourism and conventions/meetings sectors to the Savannah area while maintaining working relationships with the more than 2,000 members of the Savannah Chamber.

He sits on the statewide board of the Georgia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, as well as nationally with the Destination Marketing Association International, and locally on the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center, the Savannah Music Festival, The Mighty 8th Air Force Museum Board of Trustees and the United Way of the Coastal Empire board of directors.

He is also a professional member of the American Society of Association Executives, the Professional Convention Management Association and Meeting Professionals International.

In his free time, Marinelli enjoys golfing and playing tennis and has a passion for the professional sports teams of his home town, Cleveland, Ohio. He and his wife Rene have a 10-year old son Alex and live on Savannah’s Whitemarsh Island.

Cost for the lunch meeting will be $12 for Chamber members and $15 for others.

If you are interested in attending, call the Chamber at 754-3301 so an accurate head count can be obtained.