Tourists expected to generate millions during Cooper River Bridge Run

Updated: Mar. 31, 2014 at 10:52 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Cooper River Bridge Run will pump millions into our economy this weekend and most of it is from out of town guests.

"It's in the top 5 10K road races in the country," said Zachary Dunahoe, bridge run staff member.

The Cooper River Bridge Run is a worldwide attraction.

Dunahoe said, "30% travel from out of state and 70 or 80 travels from 60 miles or more. It's new money, new revenue coming into the area."

That money is tracked every 5 years through a survey, the last one was done by The Citadel in 2011.

Citadel professor Dr. Harry Davakos said, "We had a direct impact of approximately 18 million dollars."

Davakos helped create the online survey that is filled out by race participants who traveled 60 miles or more for the run.

"We have found that the average tourist stays for almost 2 1/2 days," said Davakos.

The survey shows those runners and walkers who come back year after year for the bridge run spend more money every time.

Davakos said, "They will go and shop at higher levels such as the antique stores or fine arts, things like that."

Those visitors also spent more than 2 million dollars on fast food and over 4 million at local high-end restaurants.

Davakos said, "Most of the fancy restaurants that we have, they're headquartered here in town so most of the money will stay in the Lowcountry."

In the survey, more than half of the out-of-towners said they ran the race more than once.

Dunahoe said, "We're looking for the repeat customers. There are a lot of people that have been running since it opened back in 1978."

Customer service is how race organizers say they'll encourage more runners to lace up again next year to cross the double diamonds.

The survey also showed that more than 18,000 visitors stayed over two nights in hotels. That brought in 4.1 million dollars to the local economy.

The next survey on the economic impact from money spent by visitors will be done in 2016.?

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