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Spartanburg County tourism gets big boost in 2016

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Monday, March 6, 2017

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The Carolina Panthers summer camp at Wofford College helped boost Spartanburg's tourism industry in 2016.
 

Carolina Panthers Photo

The Carolina Panthers summer camp at Wofford College helped boost Spartanburg's tourism industry in 2016.

 

Spartanburg County broke records for hotel occupancy, room demand, web traffic and tax revenue in 2016.

“Spartanburg is top-10 destination for tourists visiting South Carolina,” said Chris Jennings, Executive Vice President of the Spartanburg Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We have become a leading sports destination and fun place to visit, and the numbers continue to back that up.”

The Carolina Panthers training camp can claim a shout out for the increase with a record turnout, room occupancy and spending.

Jennings noted Spartanburg County ranked seventh in the state of South Carolina for economic impact, with travelers spending more than $390.15 million in the most recent research report by the SC Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.

Jennings pointed to new downtown Spartanburg restaurants, retail and nightlife spots; walkable downtowns such as Landrum, Cowpens and Woodruff; a dynamic arts scene, plentiful outdoor recreation opportunities, and a focus on authentic, local and made-in-Spartanburg products.

The Carolina Panthers training camp can claim a shout out for the increase with a record turnout, room occupancy and spending.

Some highlights of the latest tourism study:

• Average occupancy increased again this year (+5 points) to 74 percent. For the first time ever, Spartanburg’s hotel occupancy rate out-paced Greenville’s, and four other comparative counties (York, Georgetown, Beaufort and Florence). Spartanburg has 22 hotels versus Greenville’s 54.

• Total room demand experienced a notable increase of 7.6 percent, to more than 898,000 in 2016.

Spartanburg’s 2016 Average Room Rate was $83.65. That is up 7.5 percent from 2015 ($77.74).

• Total room revenue increased 16-percent to a record of more than $75.4 million in 2016.

• VisitSpartanburg.com unique website visits increased 48 percent, which is on top of the 54 percent increase reported in 2015.

• Spartanburg County Hospitality Tax revenue increased another 3 percent in 2016. The City of Spartanburg Hospitality Tax revenue increased 6 percent this year – both were records. 

“We are proud of the economic diversity that tourism is bringing to Spartanburg,” said Allen Smith, President and CEO of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce. “It sounds cliché, but we really can say the best is yet to come.”

The Spartanburg CVB previously released the 2016 Carolina Panthers summer training camp numbers versus 2015 and 2014, respectively.

The visitors profile survey found that 58 percent of participants in 2016 said they would not have come to Spartanburg without Panthers camp – down from 80 percent in 2015.

Total economic impact: $13.1 million Impact in 2015: $8 million Impact in 2014: $5.2 million

Number of visitors:

2016: 135,371 2015: 77,625 2014: 49,029

Average expenditure per guest:

2016: $151 2015: $161 2014: $149

Percentage of first time guests:

2016: 58 percent 2015: 52 percent 2014: 45 percent

Percentage of guests staying overnight

2016: 32 percent 2015: 11 percent 2014: 21 percent

• Sources: H2R Market Research; Spartanburg Balanced Corporate Scoreboard; Smith Travel research, Spartanburg Convention and Visitors Bureau.

 

 

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