Through the national economic downturn, tourism has remained one of the pillars of our local economy. Hotel tax collections in the City of Beaufort were the same as last year. The hotels have lowered their rates so that means the number of tourists increased. Restaurant tax collections were actually slightly up from the previous year. Anecdotally, shopkeepers tell us visitors are not spending as much, but the county, which tracks all sales tax including the municipalities, reports that sales tax collections are up from last year. Tourists pay about 30 percent of that sales tax, a portion of which is dedicated to paying for local education and infrastructure needs.
General tourism stats produced before the recession report that for every 100 tourism jobs in Beaufort County, an additional 26 jobs are created. National statistics show that tourism generates revenues in a local community that lower property tax per household by about $800 a year. Another way of saying that, according to South Carolina Parks Recreation and Tourism is that for every dollar in public funds spent on tourism, an additional $2.46 is raised in tax revenues. In 2007, the estimated number of tourists to Northern Beaufort County was 550,000 with a total economic impact of about $538 million.
To learn more about the economic impact of tourism, visit TourismWorksForBeaufort.com.