More than 20,000 attended Charleston Wine & Food Festival

By Ashley Barker
Published April 9, 2014

The ninth annual BB&T Charleston Wine & Food Festival last month generated nearly $10 million for the local economy, according to data from the College of Charleston’s Office of Tourism Analysis.

The four-day festival included 105 official events and brought in approximately 21,500 guests, a news release said. Around 36% of festival guests indicated that they live more than 50 miles away, 11% had never visited Charleston prior to the festival and 86% plan to return to Charleston, according to a visitor survey.

Executive Director Gillian Zettler called the festival, which endured a rainy weekend, a “stunning success.”

“We knew that the weather would play a role in turnout, but it certainly didn’t dampen the spirits of our attendees, who ate and drank their way through Charleston’s finest cuisine,” Zettler said in a statement.

The average total spending per out-of-town guest was $934 this year, which is up from $877 in 2013, the visitor survey found. Guests were documented from 41 states, four Canadian Provinces, the Caribbean Islands, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Denmark, Belgium, England and New South Wales, Australia.

Wayne Smith, associate professor at the College of Charleston’s School of Business, said the study is essentially flat in comparison to last year.

“Given the weather and our department’s more conservative data collection and review methodology to ensure accuracy, the results are exactly in line with what we anticipated,” Smith said in a statement.

Zettler said the next BB&T Charleston Wine & Food Festival will be held March 5-8, 2015.

Reach Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker.

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