Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Practice Tees Off At Kiawah's PGA Championship
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- This week's PGA Championship at Kiawah Island should mean about $92 million in direct tourism impact and an estimated $75 million in television exposure, and generate interest in visiting Charleston and the South Carolina coast for years to come, researchers say.
"It just reflects very positively on the entire community. It's the kind of thing you can leverage and talk about for years to come," said Perrin Lawson, the deputy director of the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
College of Charleston researchers Bing Pan and Fran Hefner project that with about 210,000 tickets being sold, the tournament that begins on Thursday on Kiawah's Ocean Course will attract almost 50,000 people from outside the area.
The more affluent travelers attending from out of town are expected to stay about 4.3 days in the Charleston area, spending about $345 a day. Add in spending by players, their guests, caddies and the media, and the total is about $92 million.
The PGA estimates that the value of the free publicity from having the tournament on television worldwide is estimated at another $75 million. The tournament is expected to reach 580 million homes worldwide.
Lawson did not think going up against the closing weekend of the London Olympics would hurt viewership.
"People who are interested in golf will probably watch and people who are not hard core fans will also watch this because it's one of the majors," he said. Digital recording technology now allows viewers to see both and not have to choose one over the other.
The impact extends beyond the Charleston area, said Marion Edmunds, a spokesman for the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.
"There is a statewide impact for any major tourism event whether it is the Southeastern Wildlife Expo, the Heritage or Darlington because admissions taxes go into state coffers," he said. "Then there are other things that are a little bit harder to quantify. How many of those folks stopped for gas on their way in?"
Tourism generates about $15 billion a year in South Carolina.
The College of Charleston researchers estimate the tournament will also generate $5.2 million in taxes.
Lawson said that once it's over, publicity about the tournament will continue to draw visitors.
"Kiawah still gets a lot of people coming in to play because of the Ryder Cup in 1991," he said. "Interest in Charleston as a golf destination will increase."
Wind: 10 MPH
Humidity: 60 %