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    Columbia Convention Center & Visitors Bureau to get $1.28 million

Look where $20 million is going

Tourism to get covid-19 money

By RICK BRUNDRETT

Special to the Chronicle

Gov. Henry McMaster plans to spend $20 million in covid-19 money.

It won't be for more testing, treatment or protective gear.

The money will be spent on tourism marketing.

A legislative committee approved McMaster’s request for the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.

Of the $20 million, $15 million will go to 5 tourism organizations:

  • Columbia Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau: $1.28 million
  • Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce: $6.88 million;
  • Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau: $4.08 million;
  • Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce: $1.43 million;
  • Visit Greenville SC: $1.33 million.

Lawmakers had designated $155 million in state surplus money for covid-19 relief.

They gave the governor authority to use those funds to “protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.” 

That gave state officials broad discretion on how that money could be spent.

“South Carolina’s tourism industry has borne the brunt of the covid-19 damage to our economy,” McMaster said.

“It is critical that SCPRT immediately engage in an aggressive concerted marketing campaign to ensure that South Carolina receives an equal or greater share of consumer spending as Americans resume business, leisure, holiday and vacation related travel.”

“We really need to steal business from other states,” said SCPRT director Duane Parrish.

“That’s what this $20 million will allow us to do.”

The remaining $5 million will be used by SCPRT to “implement a tourism recovery advertising strategy that provides the flexibility to adjust to changing consumer marketing conditions.”

Brundrett is the news editor of The Nerve (www.thenerve.org). Contact him at 803-254-4411 or rick@thenerve.org . 

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