A Common Bond: Issues and Responses in South Carolina’s Coastal Tourism Development

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Paper represents effort by the Palmetto Conservation Foundation to bring issues in coastal tourism in South Carolina into focus.

From a series of interviews conducted with coastal residents, six issues emerged: (1) Changing Coastal Character, (2) Racial Tensions, (3) Employment Opportunities, (4) Housing, (5) Taxation, (6) Environment. Policy brief within paper expresses interest in approaching tourism as sustainable development opportunity.

Policy brief outlines four goals that encompass needs/aspirations expressed in interviews: (1) high per capita consumption sustainable for an indefinite period, (2) equity in the distribution of benefits and costs, (3) environmental protection, including protecting of biodiversity, (4) participation of all sectors of society in decision making.

Steps toward moving South Carolina’s coastal tourism toward sustainability include defining/understanding tourism, developing the right mix of tourism, creating a stake in the tourism resource (public responsibility), and job ladders and entrepreneurship. Immediate policy solutions include historical preservation, environmental preservation, and tax relief initiatives for several enterprises and areas along the coast.

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