Governor Henry McMaster proclaims May 19-25, 2024 is South Carolina travel and tourism week

May 22, 2024

State Hospitality Employee of the Year also recognized

To celebrate the positive impact South Carolina’s tourism industry has on the economy, workforce, and quality of life, Governor Henry McMaster today proclaimed May 19-25, 2024 as South Carolina Travel and Tourism Week.

“Visitors are continuing to choose South Carolina,” said Gov. McMaster. “They plan their trips to relax on our beaches, dine in our world-class restaurants, stroll our safe city streets, and appreciate our unparalleled beauty. Our sincere hospitality is what keeps them coming back. As the tourism industry continues to boom, I commend the people who make South Carolina’s destinations and attractions the best in the world.”

The governor’s proclamation aligns with the nationwide celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), which was created by Congress in 1983 to elevate the power of travel.

“Tourism helps us showcase what makes our communities, our traditions, and our people unique and vibrant, all while fueling jobs and attracting visitors and their out-of-state dollars,” said South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism Director, Duane Parrish. “Our hospitality is world-renowned, and our travel and tourism workforce deserves enormous credit for their dedication and creativity, and for the profound impact the industry has on the Palmetto State.”

In South Carolina:

  • 1 in 10 people work in hospitality, supporting more than 200,000 jobs
  • The estimated annual economic impact of the industry is more than $29 billion
  • Tourism-related tax collections reduce the annual tax burden for every resident by nearly $1,000

The South Carolina Travel and Tourism Week proclamation was unveiled during an “industry champions” celebration at the Governor’s Mansion, which gathered tourism leaders from every corner of the state. The event’s theme for 2024 highlighted sports tourism, a power player sector of the industry that is rapidly growing as competitors, from pee wee to professionals, and their spectators increasingly travel for sporting events.

Event speakers included Darlington Raceway President, Josh Harris; Mayor of Rock Hill, John Gettys; Executive Vice President of Business Development and Customer Engagement Operations of B.A.S.S./Bassmaster, Phillip Johnson; and President and CEO of Visit Myrtle Beach, Karen Riordan.

  • “Darlington Raceway is proud to be a major part of South Carolina’s sports tourism legacy, and we are also proud to be a key driver of its incredible future,” said Darlington Raceway President, Josh Harris. “NASCAR fans from all over the world make the Palmetto State a can’t-miss destination every year, and we look forward to welcoming them back for the Cook Out Southern 500 on September 1 to enjoy the rich heritage and tradition of our national treasure.”
  • “With powerhouses like Lake Murray, Lake Hartwell, and the Santee Cooper lakes, South Carolina is a leading destination for competitive fishing,” said Executive Vice President of Business Development and Customer Engagement Operations of B.A.S.S./Bassmaster, Phillip Johnson. “The lakes offer the perfect combination of size and diversity for the thrill of the competition, while the backdrops provide an incredible setting for our nationally televised broadcasts that reach millions of viewers. The hosting destinations do an incredible job of collaborating with us to create world-class experiences for our anglers and spectators while helping us showcase the area and inspire more lakeside South Carolina vacations. It’s a win-win.”
  • “It’s an honor to represent the Grand Strand’s significant contribution to elevate South Carolina as a premier destination from our 60 miles of beautiful beaches to our more than 90 golf courses, 2,000-plus restaurants, and countless opportunities for family fun,” said President and CEO of Visit Myrtle Beach, Karen Riordan. “Our region is proud to run on tourism, which not only provides 80,000-plus local jobs but offers an unmatched quality of life for our residents.”

The event also named Thelma “Ms. Jean” Seibles, of the DoubleTree by Hilton in Columbia, as the South Carolina Hospitality Employee of the Year (HEY). Consistently referred to as a bright light for everyone she meets and serves in her role, Ms. Jean was selected because of her dedication, extraordinary customer service, and professionalism. With over 20 years of service to the DoubleTree team, Ms. Jean is considered a role model in the industry. She was nominated by the Capital City/Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board. The HEY award is coordinated and co-sponsored by the South Carolina Area Tourism Regions (SCATR) and SCPRT.

South Carolina media members are encouraged to reach out to local travel and tourism-related businesses – from destination management organizations to hotels, restaurants, and local attractions – to help spotlight and celebrate the people who fuel the industry around the state. Find more tools and resources to celebrate the recognition week in our dedicated South Carolina NTTW Toolkit.

Discover all the rich history, sandy beaches, pristine lakes, rolling foothills, and family attractions a South Carolina vacation has to offer at Visit to learn more about National Travel and Tourism Week.