Tourism Industry Booming in Southern Beaufort Co.

Beaufort is in the tourism business and business is booming.

HHI-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce officials say not only has this been a record-breaking first quarter–but they expect huge crowds this weekend.

“Cash registers are ringing, hotel rooms are full, its great for our economy,” said Charlie Clark.

Beaufort county sees more than 2.5 million visitors every year and this year, is even better than most.

“We are at a sold out capacity for the weekend and we’re seeing great numbers, and not only are people coming, they’re spending. We’re seeing what we always measure the health of tourism by is are rates up? Yes, rates are up and those visitors are paying more to come here.”

Halfway through the season–and officials are saying numbers are up….

“We do a thing called rev-par, revenue per available room. That’s the real benchmark. And that is up as well, a very healthy over six-percent. We’re seeing that and looking forward to a very busy summer season. July is always the busiest month of the year and this one should be no exception,” Clark said.

But what are businesses seeing? NEWS 3 went to find out. John Briody, owner of Walnuts Cafe, says he is seeing an increase.

“It’s getting busier, I don’t need to advertise as much, because of Trip Advisor and Yelp!, but breakfast and lunch have been pretty steady, keep me busy cooking and cleaning.”

At the Skull Creek Boathouse they are seeing much of the same.

“We’re definitely busier than any year I’ve ever seen on this island,” said Chris Spargur.

Officials say they hope this strong season will help ease businesses into the shoulder season.

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