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South Carolina Tourism Performed Well in 2021, Much Work Still to be Done to Achieve Full Economic Recovery

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Visitors are pouring into South Carolina in near-record numbers. However, there is still a lot to be done before the state’s tourism industry completely recovers from the pandemic.

A report said that new data released by the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT) indicate how the state rebounded strongly in 2021 following the slowdown caused by the pandemic in 2020.

The department’s Road To Recovery assessment focused on the most important tourism indicators, including the occupancy of hotels along with park attendance and outdoor recreation, to create an overall image of where the tourism industry in the state is at.

Overall, 2021 wasn’t the most record-setting year in every category, but it was within a few points short of 2019 and was significantly more than 2020, according to SCPRT Director Duane Parish. Parish announced the numbers during an annual South Carolina Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Travel on February 7.

“These metrics tell a great story of South Carolina’s recovery in 2021,” Parish stated.

Certain factors, such as the number of rounds of golf played as well as attendance at parks, didn’t show any decrease during the outbreak due in part to South Carolina residents taking advantage of outdoor activities in larger numbers. Hotel occupancy, though, was lower than that of 2019. However, it is increasing steadily, as per the analysis.

Parish stated that the state has regained a significant amount of the ground lost at the beginning of the pandemic.

“But [the numbers] also tell us that we still have work to do,” he said. “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.”

Breakdown of the numbers:

  • Hotel occupancy – up 32.8% compared to 2020 (down only 5.3% compared to 2019)
  • Hotel revenue – up 75% compared to 2020 (up 4% compared to 2019)
  • Rounds of golf played – up 13.6% compared to 2020 (up 13.4% compared to 2019)
  • State park revenue – up 47% compared to 2020 (up 73.7% compared to 2019)
  • Campground occupancy – 62.3%, up 17.1% compared to 2020 (up 18.1% compared to 2019)
  • Cabin occupancy – 71.3%, up 17.5%. compared to 2020 (up 23.4% compared to 2019)
  • Estimated number of visitors served in SC welcome centers – 677,000, up 22% compared to 2020 (down 15.4% compared to 2019)

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Modern Campground

Modern Campground

Modern Campground is the most innovative news source in the Outdoor Hospitality industry. We provide global news coverage for RV Park and Campground owners, operators, managers, and their team members.
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