By Ashley Barker
Published March 4, 2014
More than 1.5 million people visited national parks in South Carolina in 2012, according to a National Park Service report released Monday.
The 1,566,756 S.C. visitors spent $80.3 million and supported 1,158 jobs, the 2012 National Park Visitor Spending Effects report (.pdf) said.
The state’s national parks attract visitors from across the country and the world, according to National Park Service Southeast Regional Director Stan Austin.
“From mountains to military parks and from shore to swamps, South Carolina is home to incredible diversity of scenery and stories important to American history,” Austin said in a statement. “Visitors travelling to the state plan for a great experience and end up spending a little money along the way.”
The report said that 39% of visitor spending supports jobs in restaurants and grocery and convenience stores; 27% goes toward hotels, motels and bed-and-breakfast establishments; and 20% supports other amusement and recreation.
“This new report shows that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy — returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service — and a big factor in our state’s economy as well, a result we can all support,” Austin said.
The national parks in South Carolina include Cowpens National Battlefield in Gaffney, Ninety Six National Historic Site in Ninety Six, Kings Mountain National Military Park in Blacksburg, Fort Sumter National Monument in Sullivan’s Island, Charles Pinckney National Historic Site in Mount Pleasant and Congaree National Park in Hopkins.
2012 National Park Service visitor impact in South Carolina:
Job contribution from visitor spending
Source: 2012 National Park Visitors Spending Effects Natural Resource Report
Analysis for the report was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber, as well as Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service.
Reach Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker.