Tourism board holds annual meeting

The Capital City/Lake Murray Country (CCLMC) Regional Tourism Board’s Annual Meeting was held August 25. The meeting provided an opportunity for the tourism community and political allies to learn what the organization accomplished this year in promoting tourism and economic development in Richland, Lexington, Newberry and Saluda counties.

“Capital City/Lake Murray Country has proudly adopted the Top Southern Destination title (awarded by Forbes and Food & Travel, 2021). We are thankful for this distinguished recognition and are implementing it throughout our marketing efforts” said Miriam Atria, President/CEO of the organization.

The organization’s marketing investment for the year was $816,000+. This investment represents 46 percent of the budget. CCLMC announced this was an 8 percent budget increase over the previous year, which is a strong indicator tourism in the region is on the rise. In addition, 296 articles were published resulting in 24 billion media impressions that contributed more than $225 million dollars of marketing value.

CCLMC had a bustling year hosting The Striped Bass Challenge (280 +Anglers), Big Bass Tour (900), Carolina Bass Challenge (207) MLF Fishing (125), and 19 local fishing tournaments around the lake. A total of 7,400 + room nights were booked from these events and other fishing tournaments. These events carried extensive TV exposure with them for the region and ran across numerous national markets. The organization also hosted other large-scale events like The CLASH Volleyball National Championship in Lexington, (125 athletes), The Final Table – Top 10 Chefs of the World Food Championship at UofSC with an expo at Boyd Plaza (2,473 + visitors), and the Lexington and Richland County Ag+Art Tour. Additionally, the organizations’ records show 3,652 nights were booked by visitors that stopped by the visitor’s center and AirBnB reports 124,393 nights booked [in the Lake Murray Country Region] resulting in $25,864,647 dollars in revenue this year.

“CCLMC hosted several film crews this year. From SCETV, who filmed in Eastover during the Ag+Art Tour, to “The Excursion Show” which showcased the four-county region and filmed two, 30-minute episodes, and a PBS show that traversed our state visiting SC Revolutionary War sites, the show is set to premiere soon so look for our announcement.” said Atria.

Outdoor recreation has and continues to work hard for the region. The organization reported that Congaree National Park saw 215,000 visitors resulting in $12.3 million dollars of revenue and $14.8 million dollars infused into the local economy this year. Dreher Island State Park reported 28,466 camping/cabin nights that generated more than $2.1 million dollars of revenue and Sesquicentennial State Park reported more than 10,000 camping/cabin nights that brought in more than $1.03 million dollars.

2022-2023 events were announced: Save the Date.

16-17 The Jewel Tri

6-8 MLF Phoenix BLF Tournament
11-12 Congressional FAM Tour
16-22 Black Bass World Fishing Championship
23-27 Association of S.E. State ParksDirectors Conference

1-3 SC Welcome Centers Conference
9-13 World Food Championship, Dallas
15 CCLMC’s Holiday Open House

20-29 Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour
30 – Taste of Lake Murray

28-30 Big Bass Tour

1 – 4th of July Celebration and Boat Parade

The Destination Landmark is coming soon to Lake Murray. CCLMC will begin construction on a brand-new destination landmark at the corner of Highway 6 and Highway 60 on the Irmo side of the dam in the coming weeks. The first batch of engraved bricks for the base of the sign have been delivered and more are on their way.

“For many years, Capital City/Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board has worked on an iconic way to welcome the 1.5 million+ visitors to this region each year. Many are agreeing with us, this new Destination Landmark will provide such a welcome.” said Atria.

Awards and Honors Presented:
• Staff recognition, 15 years of service: Amy Hoffman, bookkeeper and assistant to the President/CEO
• Volunteers of the Year: Jane Plante, AOS Specialty Contractors; Rudy Waller, Magna Sign International
• Media Partner of the Year: David Hayth, Lake Murray Lifestyle Magazine
• Partner of the Year: Cat Thornton, Lake Homes Realty
• 2022 Tourism Advocates: Mark Shelley, Lexington Medical Center; George Hendry, McCutchen House at UofSC; Craig & Meredith Amick, Hollow Creek Distillery; John Worthington, Figaro Hospitality Group
• The Jewel of Lake Murray: Lou Kennedy, Nephron Pharmaceuticals

CCLMC Elected Two New Board Members:
• Brandon Crutchfield, Marine 360 and Putnam’s Harbor
• Rick Lackland, Director of Sales and Marketing for Doubletree by Hilton

They join current CCLMC board of directors: Jimmy Chao, Ryan Wingard, Susan O’ Cain, Dian Berry, Brad Rutherford, Gettys Branon, and Adam Huneau.
Ex-Officio Board Members Submitted for Service:
• Senator Katrina Shealy – Lexington County – District 23
• Representative Nathan Ballentine – Lexington County- District 71
• Representative Paula Rawl Calhoon – Lexington County -District 87
• Honorable Howard Duvall – Council member – City of Columbia
• Honorable Tina Herbert – Council member – City of Columbia
• Honorable Derrek Pugh – Council member – Richland County
• Honorable Debbie Summers – Council member – Lexington County
• Honorable Larry Brigham, Jr. – Council member – Lexington County
• Honorable Buddy Livingston – Council member – Newberry County
• Honorable – Jim Martin – Council member – Saluda County
• Iris N. Griffin – Dominion Energy
• Buddy Jennings – former Director of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism

Outgoing board members Jan Jernigan and Andy Briggs were honored for their years of service.

The new 2022-2023 visitors guide and national TV ad were unveiled at the meeting. Locals and visitors are encouraged to pick up a guide at the Visitor’s Center, located at 2184 N. Lake Drive, Columbia. The center is open to the public Monday through Thursday, 9 am – 4:30 pm; Friday, 9 am – 4 pm; Saturday, 10 am – 2 pm and Sunday 11 am – 2 pm.

CCLMC is the official source for all things Lake Murray Country. Find information on attractions, dining, hotels, outdoor recreation, fishing, golf, and events to plan your next trip. For more information about CCLMC visit or call 803-781-5940, 1-866-SC-Jewel.

Leave a Reply