Posted: June 4, 2018
The 2015 Tourism Management Plan (TMP) Update includes 72 recommendations to improve tourism management in Charleston with a timeline calling for the majority of the recommendations to be implemented by the end of 2018. HCF was a key contributor to the development of the update, with HCF’s former President and CEO Kitty Robinson serving as Chair of the TMP Committee. The Foundation remains committed to advocating for implementation of the committee’s important recommendations.
As part of our review of the plan’s progress, we recently met with City staff, including the directors of Planning, Livability and Transportation, and received a full reporting from the relevant city departments. Overall, city staff reported success in implementing the plan update’s recommendations, with substantial work in progress on several key recommendations.
One of the plan’s components was a recommendation to assess the number of Tourism Enforcement Officers (TEOs) and increase them as appropriate. The city now has 5 full-time TEOs who are responsible for checking things like tour guide credentials, monitoring carriage routes and tour buses and assisting tourists in the city. Recommendations that have been implemented include:
HCF’s primary concerns going forward are implementing the TMP’s recommendations relating to hotel proliferation and transportation, two very difficult issues that have naturally taken longer to address. On hotel proliferation, Mayor Tecklenburg’s administration has attempted to both follow through on his campaign promise of a hotel moratorium and to pass common-sense amendments to the city’s accommodations ordinances. While both of these efforts failed, the city cannot simply cease efforts to address hotel proliferation, and the Foundation continues to advocate for limits to the number of hotel rooms on the peninsula. We also believe that the city should continue to explore the creation of a head tax for cruise passengers which could be used for specific infrastructure and enforcement needs on the Peninsula.
Concerning mobility and transportation, newly appointed Director of Transportation Keith Benjamin has initiated the city’s first comprehensive parking plan in 20 years. The study, led by Kimley-Horn consultants, will examine current and future parking trends for residents, businesses, employees and visitors and develop parking and mobility management recommendations as appropriate. To participate in the survey, please click here. The study, which focuses on the peninsula, is expected to be completed and adopted by City Council in January of 2019. The city also hopes to learn more about the feasibility of additional park-and-ride sites through a study that is being led by the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Government.
Another major recommendation of the TMP was to conduct an annual review of tourism-related activities so that the Advisory Committee and the general public could remain engaged, hear about implementation progress and provide feedback. This has not yet happened, and Historic Charleston has offered to host this annual review. Our hope is to make this happen in the fall, so stay tuned!