SC to highlight nature's gems to expand tourism

By SUSANNE M. SCHAFERAssociated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina officials want to link some of the state's most scenic areas with new visitors interested in culture, food and fitness as a way to grow the state's $15 billion tourist industry.

Lawmakers, state officials, researchers from the University of South Carolina and supporters from Duke Energy launched their initiative Wednesday at the Statehouse in Columbia.

University of South Carolina researcher Rich Harrill says he and colleagues in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management are conducting a study of the state's four national scenic roads.

The roads run from the far northwestern hills in the Upstate to the Savannah River and the Lowcountry. Harrill says they could be a magnet for economic development and new visitors to the state.

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