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S.C. hotel occupancy increases outpace national, regional averages

Hospitality and Tourism
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Statewide revenue per available room in S.C. hotels increased 2.2% in December and 4.6% for the year, the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism said Wednesday.

Revpar, as the tourism impact indicator is known, stood at $43.12 in December. The annual increase outperformed both national (3%) and South Atlantic regional (4.6%) averages.

State parks also saw a revenue increase in December and for the year. Compared with a fall and winter of 2016 affected by Hurricane Matthew, state parks revenue rose 18% in December and 18.3% year to date. Compared with revenue averages, the yearly increase was closer to 4%.

Three of the state’s major airports ended 2017 with year-to-date increases in deplanements, led by Myrtle Beach International Airport’s 16.7% jump. Myrtle Beach saw a 21.9% deplanement rise from December 2016 to December 2017.

Deplanements also rose in Charleston (7.3% for the year, 15.2% in December) and Greenville/Spartanburg (5.2% for the year, 11.4% in December). Deplanements in Columbia rose 1.8% in December but fell 4.6% for the year.

The state saw a 7.2% increase in deplanements for the year and a 13.2% increase in December.

The immediate future does not appear quite as rosy for the hotel industry. Hotel research firm STR Inc. predicts a drop in spring occupancy statewide, projecting a 2.5% decrease in May, a 3% drop in April and a 1.4% dip in May.

At a conference earlier this month, the tourism department announced that the industry has an economic impact of $21.2 billion in South Carolina, supporting one in every 10 jobs in the state and generating $1.6 billion in state and local taxes.

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