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Edisto Beach Chamber of Commerce Director is increasing tourism

Dancarter 1 CLIPPEDEdisto Beach Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dan Carter has been making good progress in his efforts to increase tourism at Edisto Beach during his 10 years at the helm.

Essentially working with the same staff since he attained his position, he has seen tourism grow steadily as the years have passed. “My role is to support businesses at Edisto Beach and also to expose their visibility to both visitors and members of the community,” Carter said. He added it is also his task to attract visitors during the off-season. “The months of June, July, and August are great for business; but, during the colder months, business slows down a bit.”

Carter pointed out that, as time progresses, even the idle months are getting busier. “Our primary strategy is the scheduling of events at the beach. We feel that, with what we have to offer during the off-season, they will visit for a longer period, and tend to come back.” He added that, over the past five years, there has been a minimum of a 20-percent jump in business during the off-season. “January and February are the worst months for business, but the spring and fall months are significantly better than they once were.”

Carter said that he and his staff, composed of employees and dedicated volunteers, are currently looking at a variety of things to better assist their visitors. “We’re working on making our office more visible and accessible, both physically and electronically. Our website is one of our most valuable tools. We get a lot of hits off of this website, and it is also very feasible economically.”

Carter noted that eateries on the island are also faring well. “Restaurants at the beach now don’t have a single week during the year when they run in the red, and that is significant.” He added that, five years ago, beach restaurants would close for a period during the off months, but now are staying open year-round.

During the winter months, some of the businesses at the beach do well despite the weather. “Windham/Ocean Ridge Resort does well with their time-share business,” Carter said. “This is another tool used to introduce visitors to the island and the beach.”

During warmer months, the Serpentarium on Edisto Island, just a few miles from the beach, is also very popular. “Children absolutely love that place. A lot of them go there while on field trips while in school.”

Carter said the Serpentarium personnel reach out to the community by doing positive things, such as taking an exhibit to the Southeastern Wildlife Exhibition every year. “They act as good ambassadors for the island,” he noted.

Another positive aspect is the golf course at the beach, Carter said. “The Plantation Course is another great attraction. This course has earned a great reputation with golfers over a relatively short period of time. It has been completely renovated, and tournaments are held regularly with lots of out-of-state people coming in.” He added that, next weekend, a tournament is being held just for high school students, and these players will be the top performers within the state.

Carter noted that the beach has other outdoor activities available for visitors. “We also have a number of businesses that provide land and water tours and fishing trips. At Edisto Beach State Park, there are trails used for hiking, walking for exercise, and biking. The park also has a viable and interesting Environmental Learning Center.”

Carter pointed out that the Lion’s Club Bingo is a very fun and popular event for families during the summer months. “It’s almost like a step back in time,” he said.

Carter said he and his staff handle upcoming events in one of two ways. “We handle events in a two-fold manner. Some of them we manage ourselves, and, with others, we encourage the business owners and staff to manage, along with our help.”

Carter was born and raised in Walterboro, and graduated from Clemson College. After graduation, he moved to Barnwell, where he went to work for the Milliken Corporation.

By combining science with design and insights, Milliken, still a very viable company , tackles the issues and concerns of today. The company strives to find creative ways to enhance people’s lives and make our world safer, more sustainable, and more beautiful. The corporation employs over 100 people who have PhDs, and has accumulated over 2,200 United States patents and more than 5,000 patents worldwide since the business was founded in 1865. The corporation has 39 manufacturing facilities in the U.S., U.K., Belgium, France, and China.

After moving to Orlando, Florida, and Atlanta, Georgia, to work with another company, Carter moved back to Walterboro in 2000, and did consulting work for the Federal Government in Charleston. A friend of Carter’s who lives at Edisto Beach let him know that the chamber of commerce position had come open. “My predecessor, Melinda Hester, went into mission work in Haiti,” Carter noted. For more information about Edisto Beach, Carter can be contacted by phone at (843) 869-3867; by fax at (843) 869-0510; or online at www.edistochamber.com.