By BRUCE SMITH
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina's tourism industry has bounced back from the Great Recession and has been setting records in recent seasons. And the director of the state tourism department, Duane Parrish, says that trend should continue during 2014.
Parrish estimates the industry's impact on the economy was a record $18 billion last year. This season he's expecting another record year with relatively low gas prices, an improving economy and falling unemployment.
Parrish a new trend he is seeing that people, tied to work all the time with smartphones and tablets, are finding the need to get away completely. The new tourism season unofficially kicks off this week with the Governor's Conference on Tourism and Travel on Hilton Head, the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition in Charleston and other events.