Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Economics and Statistics

Committee Chair/Advisor

Carpio, Carlos

Committee Member

Boys , Kathryn

Committee Member

Hughes , David


The general goal of this study is to better understand South Carolina coastal tourism. The region of study includes the coastal counties of Horry, Charleston, and Beaufort (and Georgetown, Berkeley, Dorchester, and Jasper counties for the economic impact analysis). This study includes two types of analyses: a regression analysis of visitors' expenditures and an economic impact analysis of tourist spending.
The empirical visitors' expenditure models are specified using economic consumer demand theory. The regression analysis of the model is conducted using data from a tourist survey of 818 South Carolina visitors (conduced in fall 2008 and summer 2009). The activity participation data from the survey was used as explanatory dummy variables in the regression analysis, mapped with IMPLAN sectors, and used in proportional estimates of tourism spending in the economic impact analysis. The economic impact analysis uses the survey data on activity participation and overall tourism estimates by region from the U.S. Travel Association (2009) to estimate the impacts of tourism spending on industries in the Horry (Horry and Georgetown counties), Charleston (Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties) and Beaufort (Beaufort and Jasper counties) regions.
The regression results show number of people, number of nights, and coastal activities are the most determinant of visitors' expenditures in all regions. The economic impact analysis shows that a 10% increase in visitors' expenditure shock results in a 2% increase in employment in the Horry region, 0.6% in the Charleston region, and 1.1% in the Beaufort region. The substitution shock examines the effects of an increase outdoor activity spending and a decrease in entertainment activity spending. This shock generated negative total employment impacts for all industry sectors, with the exception of the agriculture and trade sectors. Additionally, the overall Horry regional economy sees a net loss in economic impacts as a result of the shock.



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