To deal with budget reductions, the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism is looking for nonprofit organizations to take over operation of South Carolina’s welcome centers.
There are nine welcome centers spread around the state, located on major highways.
Agency spokesman Marion Edmonds says a $200,000 agreement with the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau to run the Santee welcome center has allowed it to continue operating other welcome centers seven days a week. The days of operation were cut back to five for a brief period, due to the budget crunch, until Charleston took control of the Santee center.
But Edmonds says an even darker budget picture calls for further measures. He says his agency’s budget has been cut 48 percent over the last two years.
Edmonds says his agency is not giving away or selling the welcome centers.
Edmonds says the welcome centers and their staff are extremely important.