City of Charleston releases updated Tourism Management Plan

Published: Feb. 3, 2015 at 4:28 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 3, 2015 at 11:54 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - We may not be in peak visitor season yet, but the Charleston Tourism Advisory Committee wants to get ahead of the game. It released its recommendations to help manage the growing tourism industry. Residents also came out to offer their input on concerns.

"As you know the population has grown, and we have more visitors. It's time to re look and adjust some of the management issues," said Kitty Robinson, President and CEO of the Historical Charleston Foundation.

It's a balancing act that's in big need of a makeover.

"We have to make it a good experience for the visitors and the people who live here," said Yvonne Evans, a resident in Charleston.

Monday night, residents were eager to hear the city's new plan to manage tourism in a bustling economy. Some folks living downtown say certain problems need to be addressed. One issue being parking.

"It is filled with people attending events around the city and they abuse the two hour parking limit and then when our residents come home from work, they don't have parking on site," said Glenda Nemes, a resident in Charleston.

That's why the city is urging folks to use alternate methods of transportation.

"More walking, more bicycles. Perhaps a remote welcome center where visitors coming into the city can park remotely and then take public transportation into visit the historic district," said Robinson.

Some residents are also concerned about the amount of carriage rides going down their streets.

"The problem I have with carriages is when 40 go by my house in an hour and it creates smell and traffic problems. It is excessive," said Nemes.

In the next six months to a year, the city plans on developing regulations on the use of carriages in the streets to improve congestion in peak tourism months. The city hopes these improvements are designed to make life easier for residents and tourists.

"We got a lot of good input and the city worked hard over the last nine months to come up with some great recommendations," said Mayor Joseph Riley.

Another thing the city is exploring is the impact of cruise ships on the historic district. They also want to come up with regulations to help better manage special events in the downtown area.

The proposal of the tourism management plan will go before the Planning Commission and City Council in the Spring.

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