The Southeastern Wildlife Expo unofficially opens the tourist floodgates.
If locals are going to ‘ding’ the tourism industry for something, it’s going to be an increase in traffic during tourism season. However, they may not be the biggest contributors.
Despite coming by the millions, the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau says, more and more tourists are flying here. The CVB says, New York City tops the list of hometowns for tourists in Charleston. The say those who fly into CHS are using ride sharing services to get around.
“The largest percentage of people who are coming in on a flight, they don’t rent vehicles and drive around,” said Dan Blumenstock with the CVB. “They’re actually taking taxis, and UBERs, and LYFTs in order to get to their destination, and then they’re walking and taking some kind of public transit from there.”
One hotel owner says, his bookings are solid, but so few are driving into town that he can actually open his parking lot to employees.
“The latest study that I read had 72% of the guests that stayed on the Peninsula, they actually leave their vehicle right where they parked it when they checked into the hotel and don’t use it throughout their stay until they’re ready to leave to go home,” said Blumenstock.
All that being said, there are still tourists coming by car, and also adding to the traffic situation. With that comes parking issues as well. In an effort to ease the load, CARTA and the hospitality industry are working on a park-and-ride shuttle for hospitality workers so they can park in a safe place, and not add to the traffic Downtown.