COLUMBIA, SC – December 1, 2008 – The Famously Hot city of Columbia, South Carolina is doing well in the convention and tourism industry despite the economic downturn the U.S. is having. According to Smith Travel Research, Columbia’s occupancy rate for the month of August has jumped 2.5% compared to August, 2007. Despite being down 2.9% in September and 2.6% in October, year to date, Columbia’s occupancy rate has increased 1.4% and is exceeding not only every other area in South Carolina, but also the entire state, South Atlantic region and national occupancy rates for the first 10 months of 2008 compared to 2007. Columbia is doing significantly well despite the hard times on its neighboring cities Greenville, Myrtle Beach, and Charleston, who all have seen a drop in occupancy rate.
Tom Sponseller, president and CEO of the Hospitality Association of South Carolina states, “Columbia is fortunate that in this economy the lodging industry is doing better than most South Carolina destinations as other destinations in the state are suffering from individual and business travelers who have cut back on their travel budgets. Being the Capital City is beneficial in this economy as groups are making more prudent decisions by holding meetings in strategic locations more so than those aimed more at leisure.
President/CEO of the Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports & Tourism, Ric Luber adds, “The fact that our hotel properties are doing well is a great sign for us. Columbia is weathering the storm. Meeting planners are noticing how Famously Hot we are in affordability, accessibility, and meeting facilities. We’ve got the big city amenities including world-class attractions at more than half the cost.”