The Richardson Family SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development was established in 2010 with a specific goal to encourage research directly applicable to tourism in South Carolina.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
New report published by the SmartState team: “An Assessment of Tourism Development Along the Santee Cooper Waterway”
The SmartState team has just finished a comprehensive study looking at potential tourism development along the Santee Cooper waterway. The study, funded by Santee Cooper, Santee Cooper Country, and the SmartState Center, included focus group sessions with area stakeholders, an economic impact analysis, and surveys of residents and visitors. We also visited several waterways in the U.S. and Europe to make observations, interview key stakeholders, and obtain the most up-to-date information regarding tourism infrastructure and facilities on and around waterways.
As a result of the nine-month study, we made a number of recommendations. Attracting investment for new infrastructure and product development will be paramount, and new tourism-related activities on the water should be developed alongside activities on land; people are particularly attracted to cycling and walking paths alongside waterways. Santee and Moncks Corner in particular are well positioned for new infrastructure, but any development should go hand-in-hand with careful consideration and planning with respect to protecting and preserving the natural resources of the waterways and the ecosystem of the surrounding region. Systems and programs should also be created to encourage, educate and empower community members in this development. Further, Santee Cooper has a relatively weak brand, so a comprehensive branding exercise is recommended, followed by consistency in communicating the new brand identity to potential visitors, residents, and key stakeholders within the region. Finally there is clearly a need for a comprehensive tourism/hospitality and customer service training program tailored to the Santee Cooper region.
The full report can be downloaded at: http://sc.edu/study/colleges_schools/hrsm/research/research_centers/richardson_family_smartstate/research_publications/index.php