Landrum council receives update on county tourism spending

Published 9:56 pm Tuesday, December 20, 2016

LANDRUM – Landrum City Council heard a tourism presentation by Chris Jennings, executive vice president of the Spartanburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, during council’s Dec. 13 meeting.

The presentation included the impact of tourism in Spartanburg County during the past few years, details of an online ad campaign and a discussion of the Textile Town and Hub City brochures.

The 2017 South Carolina Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Travel will be held in February and is considered the largest gathering of the South Carolina tourism industry. The conference offers sessions on emerging consumer trends and marketing strategies to help the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism and the industry grow. (Photo submitted)

The 2017 South Carolina Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Travel will be held in February and is considered the largest gathering of the South Carolina tourism industry. The conference offers sessions on emerging consumer trends and marketing strategies to help the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism and the industry grow. (Photo submitted)

The Carolina Panthers training camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg had a total economic impact of $13.064 million in 2016, and included the creation of 263 jobs.

According to Jennings, Spartanburg County enjoyed an increase of 12 percent in room revenue by hotels in 2015. This figure increased from $59,562,297 in 2014 to $66,620,390 in 2015. In 2010, Spartanburg saw $43,127,022 in room revenue.

In addition to room revenue, Jennings explained the county saw an increase of eight percent in hospitality tax from $3,808,607 in 2014 to $4,119,846 in 2015. Jennings added that tax receipts have increased 27 percent in the county from $3,239,244 in 2010. Hospitality tax in Spartanburg County is not to exceed two percent, according to the county’s hospitality tax ordinance enacted in January 2008.

According to a survey conducted by the Spartanburg County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the bureau’s advertising earned an overall appeal score of 4.02 out of 5. Jennings said 82 percent of travelers believed the advertisements made Spartanburg seem more appealing as a destination.

In terms of marketing, Jennings said 37 percent of travelers had either seen or heard an advertisement for Spartanburg. The Convention and Visitors Bureau spent $158,000 on advertising.

Jennings said Spartanburg is not yet a “top-of-mind destination” for overnight or weekend getaways but is growing in awareness. Out of 1,203 survey respondents, 0.1 percent said Spartanburg would be their choice for a getaway, according to Jennings.

Gatlinburg, Tenn. ranked first with 10.3 percent of responses followed by Charleston with 6.1 percent and Asheville with 5.3 percent. Spartanburg ranked 20th, according to Jennings.

Out of the 1,203 respondents, 75 percent wanted to have fun, 69 percent wanted to experience something new and 66 percent wanted to experience a unique destination.

Jennings said a survey was also conducted by the bureau on lodging options in the county and received 123 responses. Overnight visits to Spartanburg’s hotels, campgrounds and bed and breakfast lodges “increased significantly.”

Overnight stays have increased from 74 percent in 2014 with visitors staying an average of 3.8 nights per visit, to 88 percent and an average of 3.1 nights in 2016, according to Jennings.

Hotels and resorts have seen a small decrease from 68 percent in 2014 to 62 percent in 2016, out of 105 respondents. Staying with friends and family is on the rise, according to Jennings, from 12 percent in 2014 to 23 percent in 2016.

Spartanburg visitors spent an average of $531 per party on their stay, generating more than $17 million in incremental spending. Jennings defines incremental spending as “the revenue generated that, without advertising, would not have occurred.”