In This Issue
Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Duane Parrish
SCPRT Director
The holidays are one of the top seasons of the year for travel, and South Carolina welcomes visitors to a variety of events and activities that celebrate the season.
It helps that South Carolina has a temperate climate in December. With daytime temperatures averaging in the 50s and 60s and lows at night only slightly cooler, the outdoors provide a beautiful and spacious venue for events. Even the sea breezes tend to be warm this time of year and the deep forests of our mountains lose just enough leaves to let the sun peer through.
But it's the events and festivals scheduled for the season that help make South Carolina a wonderful destination for the holidays.
Almost every small town will hold a parade this season or some type of Christmas event. Rock Hill puts on Christmasville, a four-day event of crafts, children's events, ice skating and stage entertainment. One of the highlights will be a "Reindeer Romp," a 5K race where participants can decorate a set of antlers at home and wear them during the race.  Greenville also will hold its Holiday Happening in mid December, with bands, choirs and singers adding holiday festivities to the downtown area.
Churches and town theaters in our communities are offering pageants and plays. Several towns have opened ice skating rinks. Parks are offering holiday light shows, and at least two locations have model train displays.
Destinations in South Carolina have done a great job offering a variety of special events and activities during the holidays, contributing to our tourism economy and quality of life.
December 4, 2015
Statewide Hotel RevPAR  --  RevPAR for the month of September 2015 is up 15.4%  compared to September 2014. Year-to-date RevPAR is up 7%.
Admissions Tax  - Due to closing of SCDOR offices during flooding, many returns representing August business conditions were processed the following month, inflating collections representing September business.
State Parks Revenue   - Increases in campsite occupancy, retail sales and park passport sales contributed to an 8.12% increase in revenue for state parks. Year-to-date, revenue in parks is up 3.7%.
Airport Deplanements
Most major airports in South Carolina are reporting increases in deplanements for the month of September 2015. Charleston International leads with a 14.5% increase. Year-to-date, deplanements in South Carolina are up 5.5%.

Occupancy Forecast

STR, Inc. forecasts a decrease in occupancy for the next few months due to expected slower economic growth and new hotel rooms coming on line.
The industry's monthly e-newsletter " South Carolina Tourism Today " will profile general session speakers and other key topics each month leading up to the 2016 Governor's Conference on Tourism & Travel.  Scheduled for Feb. 15-17 at Belmond Charleston Place in Charleston, the conference is the industry's largest annual gathering, and covers consumer trends and best marketing practices to help grow tourism in South Carolina.
General Session Speaker: Erik Wahl
artist, author, entrepreneur
Erik Wahl

Erik Wahl is an internationally renowned graffiti artist, a #1 best-selling author, entrepreneur, philanthropist and motivational speaker. He will lead the second general session of the Governor's Conference at 3:45 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 15, with a presentation about unleashing creativity. He will focus on ways to distinguish yourself from your competition by embracing new, innovative strategies. Creativity can help organizations become more profitable and innovative, and can help employees see the need to become better storytellers within the company and industry.

In addition to general sessions, the conference will offer breakout sessions on sports tourism, airport trends and other industry-related topics, tours of Charleston and an awards luncheon. Registration material will be available in mid December at 

Military Invited to State Parks for Friendly Competition

The State Park Service is inviting all military personnel in South Carolina to compete in First Day Hikes on New Year's Day to see which branch of the Armed Forces can hike the most miles in a single day.  The winner will be announced on the Park Service's Facebook page at
First Day Hikes are ranger-guided outings and special events held at more than 30 state parks across South Carolina on Jan. 1, to give people an invigorating start to the new year. A complete list of First Day Hike events for 2016 can be found here. Military personnel can opt to join scheduled hikes or take alternate trails in state parks as long as they check in with rangers first.
The parks are inviting members of the U.S. Army, the Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force to rack up miles for bragging rights. Park officials recommend finding state parks with significant trail systems like Kings Mountain in Blacksburg, Poinsett in Wedgefield or Edisto Beach in Colleton County, and by visiting more than one park. Officials also recommend hiking in large groups and reporting each member's miles.
Admission to all state parks will be free on New Year's Day. Military personnel should stop by the park office to pick up an Ultimate Outsider guide and tell the park ranger on duty which branch of service he or she represents. They can go on hikes and then report back the number of miles each person covers.
Jessica Goodrich
SC State  Park Interpreter Wins National Award
Jessica Goodrich, an assistant interpretive ranger at Myrtle Beach State Park, won the National Association for Interpretation's Outstanding New Interpreter award for excellence in the field. She was presented the award at an NAI conference in November.

Jessica was nominated by leaders in the industry who recognize her passion and commitment to the unique profession of interpretation. She has co-authored several articles for NAI's Legacy magazine focusing on topics ranging from getting campers to attend interpretive programs to whether interpreters should address environmental issues. She is also becoming renowned for her public presentations on the art of interpretation, peering into strategies and tips on improving the practice.
Jessica received her masters of science in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management and her bachelors in Environmental Natural Resources from Clemson University, where she was a Calhoun Honors scholar.  She also won an Outstanding Graduate Student from Clemson University in 2011.

Through its awards program, NAI recognizes outstanding achievements and showcases the successes of NAI members and other working to advance the profession of interpretation.
South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism
1205 Pendleton Street | Columbia, SC 29201