South Carolina tourism reports strong recovery in 2021 at annual conference

Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 11:10 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2022 at 11:30 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Data from the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism shows a strong rebound for tourism in the state.

On Monday, at an annual conference in Greenville, SCPRT Director Duane Parrish shared statistics showing what the industry experienced in 2021.

After seeing a slow and steady start in January and February, hotel occupancy and revenue began to surpass the record levels South Carolina achieved in 2019 by the month of June.

The year finished with a 32.8% increase in statewide hotel occupancy compared to 2020 and down 5.3% compared to 2019.

Hotel revenue per available room was 75% higher than 2020 and 4% higher than 2019.

“These metrics tell a great story of South Carolina’s tourism recovery in 2021,” Parrish said. “They tell us that we have regained much of the economic ground that was lost in the first year of the pandemic – but they also tell us that we still have work to do. They tell us that we all must continue our efforts to achieve a full economic recovery to make our state’s tourism industry whole again.”

Parrish attributed that success to several factors, including a $20 million investment the state made to fuel SCPRT’s tourism recovery marketing in late 2020.

Parrish also announced a few other projects and highlights for 2022, and for the years to come:

  • SCPRT is partnering with the US Civil Rights Trail to increase consumer awareness of Civil Rights attractions and sites in the state. We’re also partnering with WeGOJA (formerly known as the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission) to develop a Civil Rights podcast series that will launch in May 2022.
  • SCPRT is partnering with tourism regions to promote the important role South Carolina played in the American Revolution as the Sestercentennial approaches, to encourage residents and visitors alike to explore our arsenal of Rev War experiences.
  • SCPRT looks forward to opening new state parks in the coming years, including the linear park along the Black River in Georgetown and Williamsburg counties, May Forest on Fort Johnson in Charleston, Pine Island on Lake Murray in Lexington, Ramsey Grove Plantation in Georgetown, and Misty Lake in Aiken.
  • The state’s golf metrics are reaching the highest levels seen in a decade after South Carolina hosted the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, the Palmetto Championship at Congaree, the BMW Charity Pro-Am and the PGA Championship in Kiawah in 2021. We look forward to seeing that positive trend continue.
  • SCPRT looks forward to welcoming international visitors back to South Carolina as those markets slowly recover. We are partnering with Travel South USA and Brand USA to optimize our advertising effectiveness, and preparing to increase our investment in international marketing when the time is right.

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