A New Push for Tourism in Dorchester County

April 19, 2017, 10:40 am EST | Share:

DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (BILL BURR, WTAT-TV) — There is a new push to promote tourism in Dorchester County. The county wants more people to visit the upper part of Dorchester and the small towns of Harleyville, Ridgeville and St. George.

Earl Johnson has a passion for the serene settings of upper Dorchester County.

As he slowly cruises calm waters by boat, Johnson describes the rhythm of the Edisto River. “Everything here is just natural,” he said. “There’s nothing to come down and see deer standing on the bank, or turkey.”

“I grew up here. I’m 44 years old. Grew up here on the river,” he said. “You kinda just took it for granted. It was a place we went to on the weekends.”

As owner of Edisto River Adventures, he’s surprised at who visits his outdoor oasis in Ridgeville.

“I’m taken aback by the amount of people from out of our area that come here, and I don’t think that a lot of the local people here realize how many tourists really come here.”

That’s why Dorchester County leaders are beginning a $40,000 marketing campaign to tout tourism in smaller towns not far from busy I-26 and the slow Edisto River.

“What we’re looking for are people that are looking to go off the beaten path,” said County Council Chairman Jay Byers. He says the plan is to promote natural settings like Givhans Ferry State Park and nearby historic landmarks.

“It’s not all just Charleston, although that’s the big kid in the room, we understand that. We’ve got some things to offer too, and we feel the more we raise that awareness with this campaign, we’ll be able to generate some thing here.”

Flowing interest in Earl Johnston’s slower pace of rest and relaxation on the water and on the banks of the Edisto.

The county is spending $20,000 while the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor is adding another $20,000. Ads can be seen in some regional publications like Palmetto Magazine.

Billboards will go up later this Spring.