Outside the Senate office building today, the air is thick with the aroma of barbecue. It’s Hospitality Day at the Statehouse in Columbia today, meaning restauranteurs from around the state give free cuisine samples to lawmakers and their staffs. Charleston Area Hospitality Association board member Ed Riggs says the event includes about 25 restaurants from across South Carolina.
We pitch tents and all the restaurants provide lunch on the lawn with the legislators. The reason is because we are thanking them for destination-specific grants, which is matching funds in the state. What happens here is for every dollar we spend, we return about $32 to the state. So, it’s an investment.
So while lawmakers are busy eating, its a chance for the industry to lobby.
Riggs says the tourism industry is so vital to the Lowcountry and the state that he has a list of questions he wants to asks specific legislators today. He also says today is a great way to show off some of the state’s best restaurants.