Anderson County captures travel dollars

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Anderson County performed well in capturing South Carolina travel expenditures according to the 2010 U.S. Travel Association’s “The Economic Impact of Travel on South Carolina Counties.”

The study, which provides preliminary 2010 estimates of domestic traveler expenditures in SC, as well as the employment, payroll income, and state and local tax revenue directly generated by these expenditures, was prepared for the SC Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism by the U.S. Travel Association.

According to the report, “Of the $325.3 million in sales and property tax revenue, County and municipal governments directly benefitted 22.2 percent of total travel-generated revenue in South Carolina. Each of those travel dollars produced 3.3 cents for local governments.”

Additionally, in their 2011 Lodging Outlook Survey, Smith Travel Research reported Anderson/Clemson as having a 13.3% increase in the 2011 lodging occupancy rate, the highest occupancy increase in the State of South Carolina.

“These reports are good news for us on a local level,” said County Council Chairman Tom Allen. “Anderson County ranked 11 out of the 46 counties with $128.65 million in domestic travel expenditures, 1,210 jobs (generating $19.79 million in payroll taxes), and 11.93 million in state/local taxes. Anderson/Clemson reported the highest lodging occupancy increase in the State of South Carolina from 2010 to 2011, even beating out well-known areas like Myrtle Beach and Charleston. Anderson County is a jewel with ample venues to attract tourism dollars. We need to continue to focus on enhancing our natural resources and capitalize on opportunities such as the Labor Day Omnium, Bass Master Fishing Tournaments, Watercross and Wakeboarding Championships and other events in order to bolster a global reputation as a Tourist Destination.”

“This is definitely good news for the Upstate,” said Anderson County Administrator Rusty Burns. “While no one organization or agency can claim full credit for this achievement, I would like to personally thank our County’s Parks Recreation & Tourism Division and Glenn Brill for their efforts toward this worthy goal and for continuing efforts to put ‘heads in beds’. I would also commend the County Council for their vision in creating a Parks, Recreation and Tourism division, as well as their on-going support of initiatives that foster tourism as economic development.”

In the February 2011 Pendleton District Commission newsletter, Vicki Fletcher, Executive Director, commented “South Carolina’s Tourism Industry is on the upswing and we are ‘feeling the love’ in Pendleton District! We’ve all been holding our breath looking for signs that the economy is recovering. Well, it just might be time to slowly begin exhaling. The numbers tell the story… End-of-year Accommodations Tax collections for the state are up 11.2% over FY 09-10. Even better news than the state’s increase is that Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens Counties’ Accommodations Tax collections are up 15.5% for the fiscal year! Smith Travel Research reports Anderson/Clemson area hotels saw a 14.9% increase in revenue per available room and a 13.3% occupancy rate increase for calendar year 2011. These increases came with only a 1.5% room rate increase.

(There is no specific data available for hotels in our region outside the Anderson/Clemson market, but the report for ‘small towns in SC’ is also positive.) We will leave it to the economists to declare when the nation’s economy is in full recovery, but Accommodations Tax receipts show Pendleton District’s Tourism Industry is doing well and gaining steam.”