SC Travel and Tourism Week celebrated at Governor’s Mansion

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) –Governor Henry McMaster is declaring May 7th through May 13th as South Carolina Travel and Tourism Week, coinciding with National Tourism Week.

According to Governor McMaster, South Carolina’s travel and tourism industry raked in $29 billion in 2022.

“People want to vacation all over the world, I suggest we just vacation here for awhile and get a full feel for what we have. But we need to protect it and preserve it, and it’s very important. It provides much, much money. It brings a lot of good jobs, good work, and good careers,” says McMaster.

According to the Director of the SC Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, Duane Parrish, the industry is responsible for over 200,000 jobs across the state — with one in every 10 people being employed in the travel and tourism.

He also says the industry is expected to bring in an additional five to ten percent in revenue by the end of this year.

“We discovered the outdoors during Covid. Recreation became extremely popular and that is still the case today. We’re a state that has a lot of outdoor recreation including golf, state parks, fishing, boating, hiking, and canoeing. That’s all become very popular and we benefited from that. And that’s still in place today — and partly why we had a record year in 2022,” says Parrish.

Kelly Barbrey, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Experience Columbia SC, says people tend to think of coastal cities as tourist hotspots, but this week should remind everyone that Columbia can not be counted out.

“Sometimes locals don’t always realize that Columbia is a huge tourist destination. They maybe see the beaches or some of the other parts of our state as tourist destinations, and yet Columbia has 15.2 million visitors per year that come from out of town. And so it’s a great opportunity to educate people that Columbia businesses like hotels, restaurants and attractions rely on tourists for that economic impact,” says Barbrey.

According to Parrish, six new state parks are also being developed and will open in the next several years — contributing to further growth in the industry.

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