Driven by tourism, southern Beaufort County offers a wide variety of careers and a thriving space and opportunities for entrepreneurs. Plus, in today’s remote world and thanks to the reliable utilities here, options for remote work and learning have made Hilton Head Island and Bluffton an attractive place to be.

Industry here is driven by the robust tourism and hospitality sectors that includes more than 250 restaurants, 3,000 hotel rooms and thousands more vacation rentals. 

Of the top 10 employers on the island, six are in the accommodations and food services sector: SERG Restaurant Group, Marriott Vacation Club International, The Sea Pines Resort, The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa, Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort and Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort. In neighboring Bluffton, accommodations and food service is also a major economic driver, sustaining up to 13 percent of jobs. Among the biggest employers is Montage Palmetto Bluff, the area’s only Forbes Five Star resort.

In 2019, total economic impact on Beaufort County from tourist spending was approximately $1.5 billion, generating $32.9 million in taxes and fees for local governments. As a result, residents pay far less in taxes while enjoying the amenities tourism sustains.  

Retail Trade accounts for another 11 percent of local jobs, with Publix Super Markets, Kroger, Walmart, Parker’s and Lowes Home Centers among the primary employers in the county. Health Care and Social Assistance, bolstered by Beaufort Memorial Hospital, eviCore, and Tenet Health System’s Hilton Head and Coastal Carolina hospitals and healthcare offices, rounds out the top employment sectors.  

Hilton Head’s booming vacation rental market and Bluffton’s dramatic population growth also help fuel the economy. Construction, real estate and rental leasing, make up nearly 15 percent of the area’s largest industries by number of employees, and some of the area’s largest employers are the school district and municipal and county governments. 

 

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