Charleston economy expected to see boost thanks to presidential debates

VIDEO: Charleston economy expected to see boost thanks to presidential debates
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Thousands of people have made their way to Charleston ahead of Thursday's big Republican presidential debate.

FOX Business Network special projects producer, Reed McDowell, said there's an estimated 4,000 people expected for larger-scaled debate.

Hotels, restaurants and stores in the greater Charleston area are feeling the effects of this production, along with the weekend's Democratic presidential debate.

"You're looking at the number one destination in the United States," said Board Chairman of the Charleston Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau, Dan Blumenstock. "So what better place to pick then Charleston in order to hold a debate for our next nation's leader."

While a number of visitors are already in the Lowcountry for the Republican event, more will travel to the area to see the Democratic Presidential candidates.

Blumenstock said businesses are benefiting by holding these kind of productions in the city.

"We'll have an immediate lift when we get the numbers back from January," he said. "I'm sure we're going to see a little bit of a boost that was to the local economy."

Whether that be by booked hotels, busy restaurants, or even foot traffic through retail stores, the area around the North Charleston Coliseum was slammed with people Thursday.

"It means there's a lot of revenue being produced, that's number one," said a couple visiting from New York. "Let's face it, it's all about the money. It's also giving recognition to the people who know what's going on."

"I think there's a reason they picked Charleston," said Gregory Greene, of Goose Creek. "I think Charleston has a lot of history behind it."

While the nation may associate Charleston with the tragedies of 2015, Blumenstock said these debates could be helpful in a different way.

"It's an exciting time because one, we get to show off the area to the people who are coming in and visiting with us, and then secondly we're going to be able to be broadcast across the nation for people to be able to see the Charleston area," he said. "And maybe have some potential visitor to say 'hey we want to go visit that place.'"

He added hotels in the area are expected to be full for the next few days.

The Democratic debate is set for Sunday, January 17 at the Gailliard Center in downtown Charleston.

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