This week marks the start of the summer visitor season and we’re delighted to welcome our guests.
Tourism is a business and it’s one that supports thousands of jobs, families, and the way of life we love with its $3.1 billion economic impact.
The vast majority of funding for both Hilton Head Island and Bluffton comes from three main sources: business license fees, accommodations tax, and hospitality tax. These are all delivered by our business community and our visitors.
From 2020 to 2022, hospitality taxes, largely paid by visitors to Hilton Head Island, grew by a whopping 58%. Who benefits from that? You do. Hospitality taxes go directly to town coffers. That means more services delivered by our town to our residents--more amenities, more parks, lower taxes, and beautiful beaches and waterways. In addition to funding tourism marketing, accommodations tax dollars get redistributed to non-profits, festivals, and other efforts that help support the quality of life we enjoy.
Without our visitors…
- Picture the Lowcountry without leisure trails…imagine only having a handful of restaurants to choose from versus hundreds.
- Imagine no community oyster roasts, no new recreation centers, fewer ball fields and parks, as well as fewer fire trucks and police officers.
- What if there were no symphony concerts in the park? Because without visitors, world-class parks and symphonies are few and far between.
- Imagine non-renourished and eroding beaches…picture no food festivals without the visitors that help sustain them.
- Without a year-round workforce supported by tourism, imagine numerous stores and restaurants closing in the winter months when residents want to enjoy them, too.
It’s about balance. In the last two years, overnight occupancy has remained steady yet the accommodations tax dollars that go to our municipalities have risen dramatically. That’s a balance we believe is healthy for our economy and our community.
Visitors choose to vacation in the place we call home year-round, and aren’t we fortunate?
Let’s remember that and wave hello and welcome our visitors from around the world warmly. After all…they’re headed home and you get to stay and that’s something special.
President & CEO