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Greenville Business Magazine

#YeahTHATAgenda: Tourism Grows a Billion-plus, Nonstop to Denver from GSP, Spartanburg Housing Boom, Strawberry Picking Robots

Feb 19, 2019 12:41PM ● By Chris Haire
The tourist industry in South Carolina grew for the sixth straight year in 2017, S.C. Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Director Duane Parrish announced yesterday at the Governor's Conference on Tourism and Travel. The new findings bring the valuation of the sector to $22.6 billion, up 6.6% from the previous year, placing the industry just above aerospace at $19 billion and forestry at $21 billion. Other notable industries include automotive ($27 billion) and agriculture ($42 billion).

The most recent statewide accommodation tax figures signal similar growth, with tax collections increasing 2.4% fiscal year to date compared to the previous year. From June-Nov. 2018, accommodation tax collections was $44 million, up from June-Nov. 2017's $43 million. 

Fiscal year to date, tax collections are up in Charleston (3.9%), Beaufort (6.2%), Richland (3.9%), and Spartanburg (11.8%) counties, while figures are down in Greenville (3.2%) and Horry (0.8%) counties. 

Occupancy rates across South Carolina were down 0.3% from Jan.-Dec. 2018. Both the South Atlantic and the U.S. as a whole experienced occupancy rate increases, 0.1% and 0.5% respectively.

However, some reports indicate that travel to the U.S. is beginning to slow

The former American Burger Co. space will become a new restaurant concept (Greenville News)

West Washington Street Development Clears First Council Vote: "City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance authorizing the sale of five City-owned parcels totaling .8 acre along West Washington Street for redevelopment. Plans for the property include a mixed-use development with 5,000 square feet of office space, 16 affordable housing units and community green space." (City of Greenville)

CommunityWorks Foundation and Greenville Chamber of Commerce are accepting nominations for the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Small Business Awards: Categories include Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year, Eugenia Duke Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year, Entrepreneurial Success Award, Small Business Champion of the Year, and a people's choice award called My Favorite Small Business. (Greenville Chamber)

Upstate builders say finding skilled workers is difficult (Herald-Journal)

Update on Downtown Greer Construction: "Sossamon Construction has completed all storm drain, sewer tie-in, and light pole base work in the 300 block of Trade St. Crews have also completed demolition of curbs and sidewalks with the exception of the west sidewalk in front of businesses." (

Does the Walton family earn more in a minute than Walmart workers do in a year? (Washington Post)

66% of workers polled want a 4-day workweek—why just 17% of their employers offer it (CNBC)

Can a robot pick a strawberry better, faster, and cheaper than a seasonal farmworker? (Washington Post)

The Wire
Infinity Marketing Expands Media Partnership With Clayton

Clemson's Igor Luzinov Awarded Kentwool Distinguished Professorship In Natural Fibers

Google’s Investment In South Carolina Exceeds $2 Billion

50 Most Influential 
Joan Herlong
Joan Herlong & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty
Owner & CEO 

Joan Herlong has been a top producer in Greenville real estate since 1993. After 18 years with Greenville’s largest brokerage, Herlong launched her own firm in 2011. She has earned the rank of the Greater Greenville Association of Realtors®’s No. 1 Realtor for five of the past six years.
In 2017, Sotheby’s International Realty sought Herlong out to forge a partnership in the greater Greenville area and chose her as their representative. Respected by her peers, Herlong has earned a reputation for zealous and ethical client advocacy.
Herlong is a Leadership Greenville alumnus and served on its board of regents, as well as the boards for Artisphere and the Greenville Free Medical Clinic. She serves on the GGAR MLS Committee and the S.C. Realtors® Forms Committee.