In This Issue
African American Tourism Conference set for
Sept. 26
Duane Parrish
Director, SCPRT
In South Carolina, the African American influence is a significant part of our story and it provides a wealth of attractions and experiences that draws visitors from across the country. Tourism leaders in South Carolina will meet in September to examine the landscape and discuss opportunities that will help them tap this market better.
The "2015 African American Tourism Conference - Economic Impact" will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26, at the Beatty Center at the College of Charleston. Workshops will focus on promotion, marketing, forming partnerships, identifying grants and funding, and exploring the true economic impact of African American travel as determined by Smart State research at the University of South Carolina.
Registration is now open and the fee is $50. For details, visit here, or call Kwadjo Campbell at 864-270-3784.
The conference promises a candid conversation on growing tourism in South Carolina. I encourage everyone to attend this conference and learn how to reach the African American tourism potential in their destinations.
August 31, 2015

Statewide Hotel RevPAR --  Statewide hotel occupancy was up slightly in June but the Average Daily Room Rate increased 6.2%. RevPAR in the North Charleston, Anderson/Clemson and Greenville areas increased over 15% during the month, while RevPAR in the Rock Hill/Monroe, Spartanburg, Florence/Dillon, Hilton Head/Beaufort, Charleston Airport and Charleston/West Ashley areas increased over 10%. 2015 year-to-date statewide RevPAR averaged $64.46.
Admissions Tax -- Overall Admissions Tax collections in June increased significantly compared to collections in June 2014. Collections from Golf totaled more than $1.1 million, up 1.4% from June 2014. June's report begins a new fiscal year .
State Parks Revenue -- While state parks revenue is up 1.6% for the month of June 2015 compared to June 2014, the system has generated a record amount of revenue for the full fiscal year, about 11.93% more than last year's record revenue.
Airport Deplanements

Deplanements for the month of June were up 7.5% when compared to June 2014, with Charleston leading the state in growth for the month at 15.5%. Deplanements are up 4.2% statewide year-to-date.

Occupancy Forecasts
STR, Inc., forecasts 1.3% growth for the month of September, and slightly less growth as we move into the fall months.
State Parks Generated Record Revenue in FY 2014-15

In the fiscal year that just ended, the South Carolina State Park Service became 94 percent operationally self-sufficient, generating the greatest amount of revenue and covering the largest majority of its expenses in its 81-year history. Park revenue for FY 2014-15 was $26.9 million, an increase of almost $3 million when compared to FY 2013-14.
While the Park Service is proud of its record performance, budget officials note that some of its success was due to factors out of their control, like an improving economy, declining gas prices and good weather during key holiday weeks and weekends. And they caution that the fluctuations in markets and consumer trends can result in productive years as well as lean years, like most businesses experience.
Nonetheless, their goal is to reach full operational self-sufficiency across the system by finding practices that put them in the driver's seat, helping them to draw visitors and raise revenue regardless of outside influences.
The most successful practices recently have fallen into four major categories:
Re-investing in the Park Service product  - Upgraded cabins, improved campsites, a new marina and other improvements directly affect visitation levels. Within the past 10 years, annual occupancy rates for cabins and campsites witnessed double digit growth. Almost every state park with a capital improvement project of some type, especially in their lodging facilities, experienced an increase in occupancy. Additionally, new attractions in state parks are being developed to help draw more visitors, including a new splash pad at Sesquicentennial State Park, new camper cabins at Dreher Island and Lake Hartwell, and new campgrounds at Huntington Beach and Lake Wateree.
Helping people discover the undiscovered  - Special programming in state parks is drawing new visitors or has encouraged repeat visitation, especially to under-discovered parks. The Ultimate Outsider program provides an attractive incentive to people who visit all 47 state parks. Other programming such as the SC 
State Parks Geocache Challenge, camper cook-offs and First Day Hikes help visitors discover the trail systems, scenic landscapes and other hidden gems they might not have known. One of the more successful programs - Palmetto Campouts - invites families who have never camped before to learn more about camping with the help of a team of park rangers.
Communicating often to current and potential customers  - While promotion has been a part of the Park Service for decades, recent efforts have lifted it to professional and more strategic marketing levels. "Black Friday Sales" and the Park Service's annual "12 Days of Deals" promotions, both held during the holiday season, generate new revenue for parks and appeal to first-time visitors who are shopping for unique gifts.  Parks have established a firm presence on social media, amplifying their engagement with more than 71,000 fans - plus their friends and families - on Facebook,   Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. Photo contests, trivia games and discount alerts all encourage people to engage regularly with the Park Service.
Dynamic pricing rooted in market-based rates - The Park Service put more effort into setting rental rates based on supply and consumer demand, much like private industry does. The Park Service now monitors visitation and occupancy on a daily basis, using new tools at its disposal, such as a history of bookings made through its central reservation system. The data helps them leverage moments of high demand for revenue potential, as well as lulls in reservations when discounts can be offered. The process has helped fill gaps in the revenue picture, find solutions and bring parks closer to operating in the black.
"We are committed to continuously seeking and implementing practices that help us reach our goals," said Duane Parrish, Director of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism, which oversees the Park Service. "And we are proud that our hard work thus far is literally paying off. We are looking forward to many more years of growth."
New Tourism Television Spot Begins Airing Today

South Carolina's new 30-second television spot for the leisure consumer campaign DISCOVER will begin airing today across the Southeast.  Using captivating video that illustrates the travel experience in South Carolina, including golfing, canoeing, kayaking and enjoying the beach, the commercial invites people to visit popular places but also take the road less traveled and explore new and interesting destinations.
It will begin airing in the Southeast region today. It will air across all other geographic markets targeted in the state's domestic campaign beginning Oct. 19.
TV Drama Filmed in Charleston will be part of CBS Saturday morning lineup
The "Inspectors," a TV drama about federal investigators who stop fraud and other crime in the U.S. Postal Service, will air on Saturday mornings this fall on CBS.  The premier is Saturday, Oct. 3, at 10:30 a.m. The show was filmed in its entirety in Charleston.
T he series stars Jessica Lundy as Postal Inspector Amanda Wainwright, who leads a team that focuses on consumer fraud and other postal crimes. "The Inspectors" grew out of the   Consumer Alert News Network , a series of Postal Inspection Service consumer-awareness TV spots that began in 2012.
South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism
1205 Pendleton Street | Columbia, SC 29201