Hurricane Dorian Evacuations, Closures Said to Cost Charleston $58.6 Million

Hurricane Dorian marked five straight years that the Palmetto State’s tourism industry lost business due to storms and flooding, and a College of Charleston Office of Tourism Analysis report placed visitor-related losses at $58.6 million stemming from state orders to evacuate and business closures. Last September’s Hurricane Florence caused estimated losses of $111.3 million, and even though Dorian created more real damage its overall loss estimate stems from that fewer visitors typically are in the area immediately after Labor Day. The S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism utilizes “The coast is clear” as its slogan to communicate that beach leisure opportunities are again open to business. (Post and Courier)

Blackbaud CEO Gianoni is Among Forbes’ Innovative Leaders

Michael Gianoni, the CEO of Daniel Island-based Blackbaud since 2014, was ranked No. 65 on Forbes’ 2019 list of America’s Most Innovative Leaders out of a list of 100. Executives were ranked based on their media reputation for innovation; public following related to innovation; track record of market value creation; and investor expectations. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos topped the list, followed by Tesla’s Elon Musk. Blackbaud, with 1,400 employees in the Lowcountry, is a supplier of software and services designed for nonprofits and education, and it opened a new tech campus in June 2018. (Charleston Regional Business Journal)

Reality of Downtown Conference Center Inches Closer in Greenville

Two developers who own large pieces of adjacent properties on the Reedy River in downtown Greenville are considering plans to deliver a long-awaited conference center. Hughes Investments and Windsor Aughtry Hotel Group would team for the center to connect to the downtown Embassy Suites and would add an anchor hotel to accommodate larger conventions. “It’s interesting to notice that Greenville does not have a real place for out of town people coming to meet to stay for a long time,” said Phil Hughes, president of Hughes Investments, noting that the Greenville Convention Center is not considered “walkable or convenient.” (GSA Business Report)

Airbnb Detects a 247% Surge in Bookings for South Carolina Destination of – Anderson

It might be an off-the-beaten path town of 27,000 in the Upstate, but vacation rental website Airbnb reports that the city of Anderson has seen a year-over-year surge of 247% in bookings. Airbnb suggests that Anderson’s location halfway between Charlotte and Atlanta makes it an enticing option for I-85 travelers in search of picturesque fall weather, as well as an optimal weekend spot for fans of the No. 1 Clemson Tigers college football team where they are 30 miles from campus for home games at Death Valley. (Post and Courier)

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

“Once you don’t sell that ticket, that’s it. You don’t get any of that back.”

Helen Hill, CEO at visitor bureau Explore Charleston, on the challenges of tourist destinations to recapture revenue lost during coastal weather events