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Charleston Visitor Center closes for renovations as guest numbers remain flat

Updated: Jun. 21, 2019 at 6:03 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston Visitor Center in downtown Charleston is now closed for an almost year-long renovation project.

The $5.5 million upgrade will include adding new exhibits and signage, according to Doug Warren, the director of media relations for Explore Charleston.

“The whole experience for visitors is going to change,” Warren said.

In turn, officials with Explore Charleston, the group in charge of the facility, are hoping that change will get more people through the door. Over the last five years, on average, a half a million tourists have made their way through the center every year.

The Charleston Visitor Center in downtown Charleston is now closed for an almost-year-long...
The Charleston Visitor Center in downtown Charleston is now closed for an almost-year-long renovation project.

“It’s been pretty flat, but that’s one of the reasons we’re doing this,” Warren said. “It’s our hope we get to a million visitors a year once we reopen.”

Right now, the city of Charleston is moving out its furniture and equipment, but when that’s done, the renovations can begin.

“The facility was last renovated 32 years ago, and that’s before the iPhone,” Warren said. “What visitors are looking for now is different than it was then.”

The updated center will have an event space as well as an experience section where people will be able to find things like a chef giving demonstrations on how to make shrimp and grits.

The center is set to reopen in early spring next year, but in the meantime, a temporary visitor center has opened inside the Best Friend Train Museum right next door at 23 Ann Street.

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