In This Issue
State of Tourism in SC to be presented at Conference
Duane Parrish Director, SCPRT  
At the Governor's Conference on Tourism and Travel next month in Spartanburg, I will give an update on the status of tourism in South Carolina, reviewing the successes and challenges of the past year and presenting great ideas for the future.
As you know from the indicators we publish every month in this e-newsletter, our single most successful metric right now is RevPAR, which is the total amount of room revenue collected divided by the total number of room nights available. I will discuss how that strong performance contributes to our fourth consecutive year of tourism growth in South Carolina, in spite of the setbacks we faced. And I will discuss other strong contributing points, including the growth of golf.
I will also present our strategic recovery plan for state parks after many of them were heavily impacted from natural disasters this past fall. Hurricane Matthew and a wildfire near Table Rock took their toll on our beautiful places, but we envision a successful path forward.

We'll also unveil our two newly built welcome centers at I-77 in Fort Mill and I-95 in Hardeeville, facilities that meet our standards for exceptional hospitality and serve as front porches to South Carolina.
This "State of Tourism" session will be held during the awards luncheon at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at the Spartanburg Marriott.  Whatever I cannot cover in that allotted time will be provided to you in a printed guide on SCPRT's service to the industry.
Please remember to register for the conference online, at this link, by Monday, Jan. 30, to take advantage of the Early Bird discount. 

See you in a few weeks!
Register early for the 2017 Governor's Conference on Tourism & Travel and get a discount on the conference fee. The early bird registration deadline is Monday, Jan. 30. Registration is available online only at this link.
January 26, 2017

Statewide Hotel RevPar -- Boosted by hotel bookings rescheduled due to Hurricane Matthew as well as room rentals for FEMA officials, insurance adjusters, repair workers and others, November 2016 RevPAR exceeded the same month in 2015 by double-digits.
Admissions Tax -- An admissions tax report was not available for the month of November as upgrades are made to the tax processing system.
State Parks Revenue --  A major revenue hit was felt in state parks in November as refunds were processed after Hurricane Matthew. The fire at Table Rock also contributed to a decrease in revenue. All parks that were not affected by the hurricane or the fire reported increases in revenue. 

Charleston International Airport reported a 10% increase in deplanements in November, and contributed to an overall 6.1% increase for the month statewide. Year-to-date, deplanements are up statewide by 6.2%.

Occupancy Forecast
STR, Inc., forecasts hotel business during late winter / early spring in South Carolina to be similar to last year's.
Go Ahead and Save a Few Dollars!
Register by Jan. 30, 2017 for the Governor's Conference on Tourism & Travel!
The 2017 Governor's Conference on Tourism & Travel is fast approaching, and the deadline for the early bird registration price is approaching even faster.

The $399 early bird pricing ends on Jan. 30, 2017. Ready to register now? We'll make it easy for you! Here's a link to the on-line registration form.

Registration increases to $425 after January 30.

Here's the fine print: The 2017 Governor's Conference on Tourism & Travel will be held Feb. 20-22, 2017 at the Spartanburg Marriott. For the speaker line up and all the details, visit
Safe Travels: The Importance of Tourism Security

Dr. Peter Tarlow
PhD., Founder and President, Tourism & More
SPEAKER, SC Governor's Conference on Tourism & Travel
General Session Monday, Feb. 20, 3:45-5 p.m.
Breakout Session Wednesday, Feb. 22, 10:45-11:45 a.m.

In his general session Monday afternoon, Dr. Tarlow will discuss the economic and political impact of tourism security. He will present a broad view of security across the world, and then focus on the U.S. and South Carolina. He will also explain why tourism security needs to be part of every community's marketing strategy and how good tourism security can result in additional revenue and hotel nights.
On Wednesday, Dr. Tarlow will lead a breakout session on multiple forms of tourism that could help destinations expand their potential.
Dr. Tarlow is a world-renowned speaker and expert specializing in the impact of crime and terrorism on the tourism industry, in event and tourism risk management, and in economic development. Since 1990, Dr. Tarlow has been teaching courses on tourism crime and terrorism to police forces and security and tourism professionals throughout the world.

The Governor's Conference on Tourism & Travel will be held Feb. 20-22 at the Spartanburg Marriott in Spartanburg. Register online at this link.
Special Touches Highlight the Conference
In addition to educational sessions and networking opportunities, the Governor's Conference will offer special touches that help delegates explore the host city, and discover why people are saying "There's Only One. Spartanburg."

It all begins Monday night with the Taste of Spartanburg reception at Chapman Cultural Center where great local food, libations, music and hand-rolled cigars will make for a festive welcome.

On Tuesday after lunch, buses will depart the Spartanburg Marriott for tours to major attractions. Among the options for registered delegates are a "Satisfy Your Thirst" tour that offers samples at craft breweries and distilleries; the "UNDERGROUND Spartanburg" tour to off-the-grid artsy attractions; an "All-Aboard History" tour that traces Spartanburg's past, and a "Performance Driving Tour" at the BMW plant in Greer. A round of golf at River Falls Plantation also will be among the options.

All tours require advance registration. Register before Jan. 30 and receive the Early Bird discount. Forms can be found at this link.
2017 Southeast Biking Symposium to be Held in South Carolina
Hilton Head is hosting the 2017 Southeast Biking Symposium in March, a gathering that hopes to explore the bicycling tourism potential of the region. Scheduled for March 23-25 at the Beach House on Hilton Head Island, the symposium will bring together tourism professionals, thought leaders, change makers and community stakeholders for an exchange of ideas and best practices. Other planned activities will include treks outdoors along the 60+-mile pathways system on Hilton Head Island, the only Gold-Level Bike Friendly Community in the Southeast.
For more about the conference, including registration information, click here.
Featured This Month!
Top 10 Fishing Spots in State Parks

Feature stories posted on in the month of January lure the traveler to golf and the great outdoors from the coast to the mountains. Among the stories is a post listing the Top 10 Fishing Spots in State Parks. Quoted in the story is Barnwell State Park Manager Eddie Richburg who runs the program "Ask Ranger Richburg" to answer fishing questions online. "All of the state's regions have great places to fish," he says. "You can catch everything from trout, stripers, large and smallmouth bass, bluegill, crappie, a variety of catfish and too many saltwater fish to name." To find out the top 10 fishing spots in state parks, click here.

Other stories posted in January include:
South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism
1205 Pendleton Street | Columbia, SC 29201