SC Tourism: April 2019 Data Released

Industry posts weak numbers, but claims it is due to uptick in inventory …

South Carolina’s tourism economy showed weak year-over-year growth during the month of April and is expanding at an anemic clip through the first four months of the year, according to data released on Friday by the S.C. Department of Parks Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT).

According to the agency, the industry is expanding at a disappointing 0.7 percent rate when compared to this same point a year ago. And remember – tourism only grew at a 1.6 percent clip in 2018, which was way down from its 4.6 percent growth rate the previous year.

Is yet another disappointing year in store?

For the month of April, growth was up 1 percent from the previous April.

These percentages, incidentally, refer to RevPAR – or “revenue per available room” – which is the key tourism metric.

The question, then, is “how many rooms?”

Tourism officials insisted this metric “continues to keep pace with a growing room inventory,” however they offered no documentation for that claim.

Officials did report positive data from tourism-related tax collections, however.


During the month of March, accommodations tax collections reflecting February 2019 business totaled $3.8 million – up 9.5 percent from the same reporting period a year ago. For the current fiscal year (which began on June 30, 2018), accommodations tax collections totaled more than $54 million – a 3.4 percent increase from this same point in the previous fiscal year.

Similarly, admissions tax revenues for the month of April (reflecting business in March 2019) totaled $3.9 million – an impressive 24.6 percent increase from March 2018. So far this fiscal year, these collections are totaling more than $32 million – up 5.5 percent from this same point in the previous fiscal year.

Officials claim the tourism industry had an economic impact of $22.6 billion in 2017 – its sixth consecutive year of record-breaking growth.

Do we buy that number? Not really …

No matter how fast the industry is expanding or contracting, though, there is one thing we are absolutely sure of: Government has no business forcing taxpayers to subsidize it.

Tourism marketing and related subsidies are not core functions of government. As such, their costs should be borne exclusively by the private sector entities deriving a direct benefit from such expenses.



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