CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - $18.4 billion is how much money tourism brings to South Carolina every year.
Industry leaders from all over the state are in Charleston talking tourism at the 46th Annual Governor's Conference on Tourism and Travel. More than 500 people from all over South Carolina came to Charleston for the conference.
Executive Director Helen Hill says,"One of the great things in the tourism industry right now is we're leading in terms of sales tax, accommodation tax, hospitality tax reduction. With the many budget challenges of the state, tourism is one of the ways we're going to get out of this hole."
Hill with the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau says tourism in the Lowcountry is already off to a great start.
"Right now were about 15 percent ahead of projections in terms of occupancy," says Hill."That's the number of people who spent the night in a hotel. We just finished a successful SEWE and looking towards a robust spring."
The conference is geared towards brainstorming for new marketing skills and trends.The goal is to find out what the traveler wants and how to bring them to South Carolina.
Organizers say the biggest events for Charleston tourism are Spoleto, the Cooper River Bridge Run and the Food and Wine Festival.