Tourism is a $21.2 billion industry according to a latest report from the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism. The figures represent business activity for the calendar year 2016 and are up 4.7% from 2015.
According to the report, the tourism industry supports one in every 10 jobs in the state and generates $1.6 billion in state and local taxes.
Duane Parrish, director of the department, said analysis data for 2017 is not yet complete but indicators hint at even greater growth. “It would be the fifth consecutive year of tourism expansion in the state,” Parrish said in a news release.
Parrish credited local efforts to increase the economic impact of tourism-related events in 2017, including:
- The statewide total eclipse in August.
- The UCI BMX World Championship in Rock Hill in August.
- Postseason NCAA basketball tournaments in Greenville and Columbia in March.
- A 4.1% increase in the number of rounds played at golf courses at the Grand Strand, according to Golf Tourism Solutions.
- Film production of the DirecTV series Mr. Mercedes and the new Halloween movie in Charleston.
Parrish said year-end hotel revenue for 2017 increased 6.2% over 2016, outpacing growth averages nationally and in the South Atlantic region.
Since 2012, revenue per available room, a measurement of tourism’s impact, has increased by more than 41%.
The numbers were presented at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Travel on Hilton Head Island, the largest annual gathering of tourism professionals in the state.