The Latest South Carolina Tourism Numbers Are In …

Coronavirus shutdown continues to decimate Palmetto State’s signature industry …

Another week, another batch of apocalyptic data for the South Carolina tourism industry – which is suddenly facing existential questions as to what it must do in order to survive the fallout from the global coronavirus pandemic.

According to data released on Friday by the S.C. Department of Parks Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT), the week ending April 18, 2020 featured more of the same carnage we have seen in previous weeks.

First, revenue per available room – or “RevPAR,” one of the most critical tourism metrics – clocked in at $17.15, an 82.1 percent decline from the same week a year ago.  That is consistent with declines reported during the previous two weeks (here and here).

For the year-to-date, RevPAR is now down 36.1 percent from the same point in 2019 – evidence of the worsening impact the ongoing coronavirus shutdown is having on the industry.

Two weeks ago, the RevPAR year-to-date decline was 25.3 percent.

In other data, nightly hotel rooms sold slipped by 67.1 percent from the same week a year ago – and are now down 23.8 percent for the year-to-date.

Two weeks ago, the decline in nightly rooms sold compared to 2019 was 15.5 percent.

“About 44 percent of the state’s hotels were closed and occupancy hovered around 18-20 percent,” SCPRT noted in assessing the data. “Extended-stay facilities as well as hotels along the interstate performed better than facilities in downtown areas.”

As you might imagine, the effective shuttering of tourism is continuing to have a calamitous (and worsening) impact on revenue.

 According to data (.pdf) published by Tourism Economics, visitor spending declined by $264 million last week compared to the same week a year ago – a decline of 88 percent.

All told, revenue has declined by $1.3 billion since the beginning of March – a drop of nearly 40 percent from the same point in 2019. 

Take a look …

(Click to view)

(Via: Tourism Economics)

Unbelievable …

Earlier this week, our news outlet published a piece urging state leaders to finally heed our advice and begin diversifying the Grand Strand as a tourism destination.

At the top of that list? Putting casinos on the coast …

Removing restrictions on such establishments “would not only help the state bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic, but would put this vital sector of our economy on firmer (and more diverse) footing moving forward,” we wrote on Monday.

Our readers agreed. As of this writing, 77 percent of respondents in our online poll indicated they supported casinos on the coast compared to only 19 percent who opposed them – and four percent who said they were “unsure” as to their views on the matter.

Faced with rapidly deteriorating revenues from all sources, will Palmetto State leaders finally see the writing on the wall?

Let’s hope so ….


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