It turns out South Carolina’s decision to remove the Confederate flag from its statehouse grounds is helping the state economically in addition to socially.
According to a new study from the University of South Carolina’s SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism, over half of South Carolina’s out-of-state visitors who are African-American said that their desire to visit the state had increased after the flag was removed.
While this is a good sign for South Carolina, the state still has a ways to go, as the survey also found that half of all potential visitors to the state who are African-American fear facing racial discrimination there.
“We need to recognize that the fear of racial discrimination is real,” said Simon Hudson, director of the SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism. “As tourism providers, we need to better understand travelers from a diverse array of backgrounds and be able to cater to their particular interests and needs.”
Hudson also pointed to the abundance of possibilities for African-American cultural and historical sites and suggested that investing in these sites could not only help to preserve them but also increase tourism.
“We have a great deal of African-American tourism attractions, but there needs to be some real investment in these facilities. It’s not only about bringing in new tourists. It’s about investing in what South Carolina already has and building upon it.”