How Has SC Tourism Changed Since COVID-19?
At Business Over Breakfast, sponsored by Kay Plumbing Services, SC Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Duane Parrish gave attendees an idea of how the tourism industry was affected by COVID-19 and how it has recovered today.
Tourism income for the state was $24.4 billion in 2019. In 2020, the Palmetto State suffered a loss of more than a third of tourism income; a larger loss than in 1989 due to Hurricane Hugo.
The hospitality industry employs 10% of the SC workforce, making up a large economic sector. Many people have left the industry with fear of an elongated recovery time. However, hotel occupancy is up 30.7% since January 2021, with June 2021 expected to reach occupancy above pre-pandemic numbers.
There were also many travelers waiting in line for the state parks to reopen in May. With cabin fever even RV sales are at an all-time high. To encourage tourists with safe travel, SCPRT created advertising campaigns such as “SC is Open,” and “When you’re ready, we’re ready.” An estimated $10 million was allocated towards target marketing, reaching travelers from here to Ohio and just west of the Mississippi.
With conditions returning to normal, there is an upward trend not only with state park visitation but also with weddings and golfing. Columbia’s Lace House is seeing its most bookings yet for weddings and State Admissions Tax collections from golf have increased 68.5%.
Register for the next Business Over Breakfast on Tuesday, August 10 at 7:30 a.m. at RADIUS Church where the Chamber will host a time of networking and connection and introduce its newest officers and members of its board of directors. Tickets are $10 and must be purchased in advance. Registration will close Friday, August 6 at 2 p.m.