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New officers to patrol Charleston streets to monitor tourism - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

New officers to patrol Charleston streets to monitor tourism

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Starting October 1, the city of Charleston will add three new officers to patrol city streets.

Only this time, they'll be monitoring the city's tourism industry.

Tourism enforcement officers, or TEO's will bike and walk the streets, checking for things like tour guide credentials, monitoring carriage routes, also assisting tourist in the city.

TEOs are separate from city police.

"We welcome the eyes on us, because all we want to do is have a job and do the tour," said Terri Wilkinson, a tour guide with Palmetto Carriage.

Wilkinson described complaints over carriages causing traffic delays, or just inconveniences to area resident.

"As a tour driver, the last thing I want is a bunch of cars behind me," she said.

"I would try to get out of the way into the first safe spot I can pull into."

Ultimately, the guide of eight years welcomes the extra enforcement, which she hopes will prove local tourism businesses are abiding by the rules.

"Absolutely!"  

"We're adhering to the rules and regulations so there's no issue."

The new officers come after months of talks between the Tourism Advisory Management Committee, a group of 30 people from Charleston's business and residential communities.

Committee member Kitty Robinson, also the CEO of the Historic Charleston Foundation, says the officers are part of a much larger plan to manage tourism in the city.

The tourism management plan is still in draft form, but has been a work in progress for the last six months.  

Robinson said it will go before city council for final approval, by the end of the year.

"The areas we are looking at would be visitor orientation, looking at special events, and tourism regulations," she said.

The most recent plan has been in place since 1998.  

Before that, previous versions were released in 1994, and 1978.

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