BEAUFORT, S.C. (April 30, 2020) – City Council proclaimed May 3-9 National Travel and Tourism Week at its April 28 meeting.
While acknowledging that the Covid-19 pandemic has halted travel, City Council recognized that “the spirit of travel and hospitality remains the enduring ethos of the travel industry and the Lowcountry and that … the spirit of travel will be a necessary and prominent component of our return to everyday life and must be supported and protected at all costs.”
Travel and tourism have been longtime mainstays of the City’s economy. Hospitality and accommodations taxes represent more than 14% of the City of Beaufort’s General Fund revenues, and support more than 1,200 local jobs. In 2019, travel and tourism contributed an estimated $1.4 billion to Beaufort County’s economy, according to Robb Wells, president & CEO of the Greater Beaufort-Port Royal CVB.
For years, Beaufort has been recognized as one of the most charming cities in the country, or one of the most romantic, or one of the most scenic – sometimes all three. Tourists have flocked here and to the Sea Islands.
Wells said he expects tourists will return to the area in phases – the early adopters who are anxious for a change of scenery and will visit once the “all clear” is given, and those who are more cautious and will wait for a while. He said hotels, restaurants and merchants will be ready with new guidelines on social distancing and cleaning.
The smallness of Beaufort, the easy accessibility via car for many in the eastern half of the country, and uncrowded nearby beaches will eventually bring people back, he said. “When the time is right, the travel and tourism industry will be integral to our city’s recovery—for the economy as well as for our friends and neighbors who depend on this industry for their livelihood,” Wells said.
The CVB has produced a video celebrating the spirit of travel in the Lowcountry. The message: “When the time is right and we are open for business, we will invite you with open arms.” https://youtu.be/HEZCpvJZ2c4
(Photo by Shawn Hill)