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Columbia Business Monthly

Director Duane Parrish To Continue To Lead S.C. Department Of Parks, Recreation And Tourism

Dec 12, 2018 10:18AM ● By Kathleen Maris

Governor Henry McMaster announced that Duane Parrish will continue to serve as the director of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT). Parrish was appointed to his current position by former Governor Nikki Haley in January of 2011.

“Duane Parrish’s world-wide marketing and branding campaigns have taken South Carolina’s tourism industry to levels of growth and success never before achieved,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “His leadership has transformed our state park system into the jewel of the southeast. And with the acquisition of St. Phillips Island, generations of South Carolinians and her visitors will have open access to one of the nation’s last undeveloped pristine barrier islands.”

During Parrish’s time at SCPRT, the tourism industry’s economic impact in South Carolina has grown to more than $21 billion, which represents a 41.3 percent increase since 2010.

“It is a privilege to continue to serve as director of SCPRT under Governor McMaster during his first full term,” said Parrish. “Within the past year we have already realized significant achievements for the state, including the successful recruitment of the state’s first non-stop international flight to the UK and the acquisition of St. Phillips Island for South Carolina State Parks. I look forward to working with Governor McMaster to build on these successes for the benefit of our state’s tourism industry.”

Making South Carolina’s state parks system self-sufficient has been among Parrish’s top priorities. In FY 11, state parks generated 82.9 percent of its operating costs. This year, that number grew to 98.6 percent and state parks generated more than $30 million in revenue.

Additionally, since 2010, domestic visitor spending has increased 41.2 percent from $9.7 billion to $13.7 billion in 2017.

Parrish serves on the Executive Board for Travel South USA and is currently serving as chairman of the National Council of State Tourism Directors.