This week in Charleston, tourism officials, Governor Nikki Haley and other state lawmakers are meeting for the Governor’s Tourism Conference to discuss the state’s $18.4 billion tourism industry. Newly-elected Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Duane Parrish says he is ready to get going on new projects to make South Carolina stand out even more.
My primary and core mission is to put more heads in the beds, feeding the fairways and people in the parks. If we do that at the end of the day then everything else will increase. You know the saying: ‘Rising tides float all boats,’ and if we put more heads in the beds, that means more people are paying more accommodation taxes, hospitality taxes, admissions taxes, and we will certainly help the governor close that $800 million shortfall.
As the state faces that budget shortfall, Parrish says the state should expect tourism to help out a great deal.
Tourism is an $18 billion industry in the state of South Carolina, one of the largest industries. It will be at the forefront of leading us out of these difficult economic times as well.
Parrish explains how much tourism matters for the state–
It’s about a 7 to 1 return. So, for every dollar invested, we get about seven dollars back as a state. SEWE is a great example. I haven’t seen their numbers yet, and I don’t believe they have released them, but they had to have record crowds. I was fortunate enough to attend Thursday and Saturday.
SEWE was in Charleston last weekend. It’s known as the largest wildlife art, nature event in the nation and brings in money for the state in lodging, hospitality and retail.
The Governor’s Tourism Conference ends today in Charleston.