After Gov. Nikki Haley questioned whether state parks should be managed by a tourism agency rather than a natural resources agency, the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism compiled a study to make its point.
The conclusion was the state’s 47 parks are a tourism engine, generating $49 million a year in spending inside and outside the parks by overnight visitors alone. The report also determined that the parks can be self-sufficient if run more like a business. Haley signed off on the report, which aims for the parks generating enough revenue to pay for operations within two years.
To become full self-sufficient, parks officials have to come up with new ways to generate revenue. The goal is to get more people into parks, especially at off-peak times, and entice them to pay more for high quality programs and retail items. Scroll through the photo gallery to find out what changes are in store.