Folly sees a tourism boom after Charleston gets best city recognition

Folly sees a tourism boom after Charleston gets best city recognition

FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - As Charleston gains national and international recognition, the city of Folly is feeling the effect.

The day Travel + Leisure magazine named Charleston the "World's Best City" broke traffic web records for Folly Beach.

Since receiving the title vacation, rental requests have increased 15% over this time last year, Director Blake Bookstaff said.

Local realty agents are feeling that effect.

LaJuan Kennedy with Fred Holland Realty said they have had in increase in guests renting their homes.

"We had one of the greatest fall rentals we ever had last fall," Kennedy said.

She said their guests are steadily increasing, especially in what used to be the off-season, "They'll come and they'll rent for holidays now."

It's not just realtors seeing the boost in visitors.

Tides Folly Beach General Manager Matt Zengerle said the off-season is changing its course.

"It used to be memorial day to labor day and now it's certainly busy almost all year now, so the seasonality is changing which is great," Zengerle said.

The boost in year-round visitors helps keep people staffed year-round, versus working seasonally.

"Typically in the past it's been tough where people would get their hours cut and then they'd have a hard time maybe paying rent especially living out here in folly but now people are able to maintain, we're able to staff almost all of the year," Zengerle said.

Local Folly businesses are also seeing an increase in off-season visitors.

"We've actually increased in our surfing lessons with the publicity Charleston is getting," Tommy Willingham with Surf Charleston said.

He said he's also seen about 20 percent increase in people on the beach.

The Folly County Park have seen a noticeable increase in visitors within the last few years.

In 2014 a total of 401,669 people visited Folly Beach County Park.

As of Sept. 11, a total of 401,481 people have visited the park, which is roughly 60,000 less people than all of 2015.

Restaurant managers also said they are seeing an influx of business.

They said this past summer season was the busiest season they had ever seen.

One manager has been working in Folly for ten years and said last fall was also the busiest off-season she had seen.

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