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SC summer tourism stats ‘exceed expectations’

Staff //July 30, 2021//

SC summer tourism stats ‘exceed expectations’

Staff //July 30, 2021//

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Hotel occupancy, which took a significant hit in 2020, was nearing the same levels as 2019 in the Palmetto State. (Photo/File)South Carolina’s summer figures “are exceeding expectations,” Duane Parrish, director of S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism, said recently.

For the week of July 11-17, the state’s hotel occupancy was up 77.9% from this time in 2020, and down 1.4% from the same time period in 2019. Occupancy is above national trends for the week, with the U.S. up 71%, an 8.9% decrease from 2019, and South Atlantic up 72.6%, a 5.6% decrease.

In South Carolina, hotel revenue per available room for the same week increased 124% from the equivalent period in 2020 and up 18.5% from 2019. Hotel RevPAR was $131.37 for July 11-17.

Camping continued to dominate state parks’ revnue at 40%. Revenue for June increased 3.3% year-over-year to $5.7 million. Fiscal year-to-date, revenue for state parks, including taxes, is approximately $48.7 million.

Accommodation taxes received, based on May 2021 tax returns, were $8.9 million, up 337.3% for the month. Fiscal year-to-date, collections are $65.5 million, up 7.7% compared to fiscal year 2019-2020.

Admissions Tax collections reflecting April business were $3.9 million, which is a 236.7% increase for May. Fiscal year-to-date, collections are $25.6 million, down 18.6% compared to fiscal year 2019-2020.

Parrish recently attended the U.S. Travel Association board meeting, where he and industry participated in discussions on airline traffic, the meetings market, workforce challenges and travel priorities with industry leaders from around the country. He noted South Carolina is not alone in the challenges the state has faced since March 2020.

But to get back to such summer success, Parrish credits pent-up travel demand and the state’s industry professionals and marketing teams who keep South Carolina top of mind.

“Summer is a beautiful time in South Carolina, and I know it’s a busy time for the industry,” he said in the release. “Thank you for the long hours, hard work and high standards that you bring to our incredible destinations day in and day out.”