Tom Peters has posted twice in a week (here and here) about his visit to Charleston, South Carolina. It seems, the town is making quite an impression on him…in a good way. Here’s a guy who logs about a gillion miles a year and has been just about everywhere on the planet. So, when he makes a point like this…people should listen.
Here are some interesting facts about Charleston (2003/2004):
Population, about 500,000
Unemployment rate, 4.4%
Port traffic, 1.72 million containers annually (it’s the largest container cargo port in the Southeast, including the Gulf Coast!)
Retail sales, $13.7 billion annually
Largest employers include Medical University of SC, Piggly Wiggly (it’s a grocery chain), US Air Force and US Navy, Roper St. Francis Healthcare, Columbia/HCA Healthcare and the Robert Bosch Corporation
Find even more info here
These facts are interesting because you never hear about them. What you do hear about is what Tom highlights in his writings...history, hospitality and good old fashioned southern charm. In a nutshell, it’s a tourist town. And, just about everything is geared toward that. Master plans, websites, economic development, PR, TV ads and on and on. And, for being focused, they receive about 4.6 million visitors annually who contribute approximately $5.1 billion to the economy. That’s not chump change in anyone’s book.
If your town is having trouble figuring out the tourism thing…go to Charleston. You won’t find too many folks there who don’t understand the big picture, and more importantly who lines their pockets.
Oh, and one more thing...I proposed to my wife there. So, I too have some very fond memories.