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2017 SC Tourism Watch: August Uptick

Eclipse helped fuel solid month … but will positive trend continue?

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South Carolina’s tourism industry bounced back in August, according to data released this week by the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT).

After a disappointing month of July, the industry posted a solid print in August as tourists flocked to see the Great American Eclipse (South Carolina was one of twelve states within the eclipse’s path of totality).

Revenue per available room – or RevPAR, the key tourism metric – increased by 6.4 percent year-over-year during the month of August.  On an annual basis, RevPAR was up 6.1 percent – the same as it was at the end of July.

Is this good news?  Yes …

“The total solar eclipse boosted occupancy in destinations within the path of totality,” tourism officials stated.

Unlike occupancy rates – which only show how many rooms are filled with guests – RevPAR reveals how much money each room is producing.  That makes it the essential industry metric to watch.

Another important indicator?  Tax revenues …

As we noted last fall, tax data released by the S.C. Department of Revenue (SCDOR) often paints a different picture of tourism growth than the visitor count released by local chambers of commerce and other groups.

Can the industry sustain its August momentum?  It’s doubtful …

September’s print – scheduled to be released late next month – will likely see a major drag given the impact of Hurricane Irma.

Stay tuned …

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