Charleston leaders release tourism plan; season could be busiest to date

VIDEO: Charleston leaders to release tourism plan, say this season could be busiest to date
Published: Apr. 2, 2015 at 7:47 PM EDT|Updated: Feb. 19, 2018 at 3:03 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Cooper River Bridge Run has become known as that "last hooray" for special events season 2015 in the Lowcountry.

SEWE has wrapped up. Fashion Week has finished down the runway. The Wine and Food Festival has served it's last plate for 2015. And, runners have completed the 6.2 mile race across the Arthur Ravenel Bridge.

Now, as businesses catch their breath, if only for minute, they're gearing up for what's expected to be the busiest tourism season to date.

They're preparing now.

"We've definitely just increased our inventory, our stock levels," said Las Olas Oceanmarket owner Daniel James.

"Make sure that we're geared up at the right times," said Rarebit General Manager David Axelrod.

The City too knows the crowds are coming. That's why leaders are releasing an updated tourism management plan.

It's been in the work for more than a year, the first time it's been updated since 1997.

There are a few major changes.

"No more special events," said Charleston Planning Director Tim Keane.

That means the city won't add anymore special events like Southeastern Wildlife expo, Charleston Fashion Week and Spoleto.

The city also hopes to spread traffic out across downtown. By adding a welcome center in the northern part of the peninsula, the goal is to get people out of their cars, and park, before they reach the historic district.

Five million people visited the Holy City last year. That number is expected to increase a few thousand this year.

The plan looks hopes to accommodate the crowds over the next decade, while keeping those who live in downtown Charleston happy.

As for the crowds, downtown businesses say, get used to it.

"Part of the fun is the crowds and the business so, there's not a lot you can do about that," said Axelrod. "That's why a lot of people are here."

The City will release the plan to the public at 5 pm Monday at the public library, on Calhoun St.

The plan is already available here:

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