2016 downtown Charleston tourism forecast

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — Memorial Day is the official kick-off of summertime tourism. On Monday, the market was bustling with people enjoying a day off of work, but historic district hotel managers say it’s not so much the Memorial Day holiday, but the start of Spoleto.

Manager of the Planters Inn, Bradley Dickerson, says, “The Memorial crowd really kicks off the summer season, but Spoleto opening weekend is a really big draw here at the Planters Inn and we have regulars that return year after year.”

Tropical Storm Bonnie did interfere with some plans.

Dickerson says, “We had a couple folks that had to depart early, but on the same side we had guests that were unable to depart, so it worked out in our favor and we had a great weekend all around.”

The Planters Inn says every room was booked Memorial Day weekend, but the summertime isn’t the busiest of the year.

Dickerson says, “Wedding season, also house tours are Spring and Fall events here in Charleston, so it’s typical for us to be busier in the Spring and Fall season.”

He says it’s the beach vacation homes that see the significant spike in the summertime. According to a Charleston County Hospitality Forecast by the College of Charleston Office of Tourism Analysis, the average daily rate of a downtown hotel will increase by about $5 this year, and the occupancy rate will drop slightly, from 79% of rooms filled to 77%.

Dickerson says, “We’ve noticed a little slippage from the early part of the year, but the later Spring and this past weekend have been excellent.”

The Planters Inn maintains an occupancy rate above the norm.

Dickerson says, “We definitely run in the high 80s here for the year, so the trend will continue through the summer.”

According to Spokesman Jim Peachers at the Charleston International Airport, the airport is 7% busier this Memorial Day weekend than last year.

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