The Lowcountry & Resort Islands Tourism Commission
Who are we?
The Tourism Commission is a nonprofit organization, funded in part by the State of South Carolina through the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT), by local governments through Accommodation Tax Funds, gift shop sales and private contributions. A 12-member board of volunteers help establish a program of work and promotional projects, approves the annual budget and marketing plan and directs the professional staff.
How were we created? What is our mission?
The regional tourism commission was created by an Act of the South Carolina General Assembly and was signed into State Law by the Governor of South Carolina in April of 1991. It was patterned after successful tourism commissions in other regions of South Carolina and similar organizations in other states.
The mission is to promote the economic development of the Region through a formal program of tourism promotion in Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper Counties.
What is the area of South Carolina that the Commission promotes?
The Region, designated by SCPRT as the Lowcountry & Resort Islands, is the four southernmost counties of South Carolina, just south of Charleston, just north of Savannah, GA and near heaven.
The area includes such coastal communities as Edisto Beach, historic Beaufort, Fripp and Daufuskie Islands, and the internationally known resort of Hilton Head Island. It also encompasses cities and towns along the I-95 corridor: Walterboro (home of the SC Artisans Center), Yemassee, Point South (home of the Lowcountry Visitors? Center), Ridgeland and Hardeeville, Hampton, Varnville and Estill. It includes the State?s first official water trail, the Edisto River Canoe & Kayak Trail.
Who serves on the Commission?
Two commissioners from each county represent the chamber(s) of commerce in that county. Additionally, one commissioner from each county represents the hospitality industry. Commissioners also represent their respective business communities, its individual citizens and environmental and cultural issues. Hospitality industry representatives may be owners or managers of hotels, motels, campgrounds or restaurants in the Region or represent their interests. Commissioners are appointed by the Governor of South Carolina and serve a four year term, after which they may be re-appointed. The current Commissioners are listed below according to the County they represent.
Jack Reed, Chairman
Michelle Strickland, Vice Chair
Noah Letter, At Large
Jennifer Mason, Treasurer
What does the Commission do?
With such a diverse area to promote, a challenge is laid before the regional organization to market the entire region, to work in partnership with the State?s department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, other regional and national tourism agencies and associations and with the area?s several chambers of commerce, festivals and special events and various hospitality properties and tourism service providers.
The Lowcountry Tourism Commission accepts the challenge and initiates promotion and tourism related projects, national and international advertising and other marketing and serves the Region and the State in pursuit of its mission.
How does the Commission promote tourism in the Region?
Tourism related projects are undertaken such as encouraging local and regional beautification, resource and attraction inventory and providing technical assistance to chambers, festivals and local governments. Direct marketing is focused towards travel writers, bloggers and tour operators through the website and familiarization trips to the area. The Commission participates in out-of state travel shows, creates and places advertising in print media, produces the Lowcountry Visitors Guide Book, promotes its website about the Region, www.southcarolinalowcountry.com.
The Commission office at the Frampton Plantation House functions as an information clearing house for travel and tourism information and answers thousands of individual inquiries for vacation information. The Commission also owns, maintains and operates the Lowcountry Visitors Center & Museum in the old Frampton House, and the Plantation Gift Shop, located just off Interstate 95 at Exit 33. Open 7 days a week, we personally greet thousands of visitors each year.