Official: SC Tourism industry suffers near $20/million day loss during historic flood

Official: SC Tourism industry suffers near $20/million day loss during historic flood

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - South Carolina state officials want the world to know, "Our Coast is Clear."

A new campaign, bearing the same name, looks to encourage potential tourists to visit the SC coast once again.

Organizations like the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau have taken to social media to kick off the effort, posting scenic pictures of the area's main attractions, like The Market and Rainbow Row.  Target audiences include states in the Northeast and Midwest.

Duane Parrish, South Carolina Director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism says the state coast suffered a collective loss between $10-$20 million a day during the historic flood.

Included in the loss was hotel occupancy, which saw marked declines in the Hilton Head/Beaufort area of 10%, Charleston 18%, Peninsula/West Ashley 25%, with Myrtle Beach hotels suffering a 19% loss in guest occupancy.

The numbers include hotel stays between October 4-10.

Parrish said many guests looked at images of areas hardest hit by flooding, and associated the devastation with an entire state, with the financial impact felt especially hard along the coastal region.

Laura Bleau, who traveled with her husband from Indianapolis to Charleston after the flood, said she saw no signs of the devastation facing some, in areas the two visited.

"If we didn't know the weather had been so bad, we would've had no idea."

Bleau sat patiently outside Charleston Carriage Works Thursday, ahead of their horse-drawn tour of the city.  It was a welcome sight for company manager, Bones Kightlinger, who described the tourism season as one of the worst yet.

"You have hot weather, a huge tragedy," Kightlinger said, also referencing the mass shooting at Charleston church, Emanuel AME.

"Charleston's hurting as far as the hospitality industry is concerned," he said.

The "Our Coast is Clear" campaign which also feature a TV ad, voiced by Governor Nikki Haley.  The spot is expected to air in the Midwest and Northeast as early as next week.

"Don't forget that we're here," Kightlinger said.

"We did not wash away."

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