Hosting PGA Championship enhances Charlestons image
It seems as though we have been planning for the 2012 PGA Championship for as long as we can remember ó and now itís hard to believe itís finally here! Despite having earned more than our fair share of awards and accolades, landing the PGA Championship stands out as a unique achievement.
Hosting an event of this caliber is a singular opportunity for the Charleston area to shine on the domestic and international stage as never before.
The Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is taking full advantage of this unique opportunity to showcase the Charleston area to people who can influence future travel to our region. The bureau is hosting two familiarization (FAM) tours for highly qualified corporate and association meeting planners.
With the international appeal of this event, we also are hosting two additional FAM tours for two wholesale package tour operators from Germany and the United Kingdom. Weíve also been providing background information, video and photography of the area, as well as planning itineraries for the visiting media. Weíll also be hosting the entire media corps for dinner each night during the week.
The most obvious impact of the championship will be its effect on our areaís economy. According to the PGA, the 2012 PGA Championship is expected to have a $193 million economic impact on South Carolina, with $92 million in direct spending by over 50,000 visitors, $26 million in labor income necessary to produce the tournament, and another $75 million in media exposure generated by over 150 hours of television coverage.
Over 250 credentialed media from around the globe will be here to cover the championship in print, on-line and on television. We know from past experience with two World Cups and the 2007 Senior PGA Championship that the destination itself quickly becomes an integral part of the media coverage. Whether itís a live shot of shrimp boats plying the waters off Kiawah Island, or footage of a family taking a leisurely carriage ride through the historic district, the Charleston area plays very well on TV ó both domestically and internationally.
An estimated 580 million households will be able to tune in to televised coverage of the championship, and the bureau has been working diligently for many months to make sure the media have everything they need to produce impactful and compelling coverage of the area.
No less important is the championshipís impact on visitor perception of the Charleston area. Hosting one of golfís four majors ó and the only one ever played in the state of South Carolina ó speaks volumes about the quality of the Charleston experience.
When considered along with annual events such as the Family Circle Cup and Cooper River Bridge Run, it brands our region as one of the Southís premier sporting destinations for both spectators and participants. Interestingly, the bureau is working with a golf group from China that is coming specifically for the championship and is staying an additional six days afterwards just for the opportunity to play the Ocean Course.
It may come as a surprise that the biggest impact of the championship may well be the residual effect we will feel in the years to come. Just as being the No. 1 U.S. city in the 2011 Conde Nast Traveler Readersí Choice poll generated an incredible amount of publicity, hosting the PGA Championship is an honor that further solidifies and enhances the Charleston areaís growing reputation.
You can count on this distinction being leveraged by the bureau to attract leisure and convention visitors for many years to come. Just as Kiawah Island still reaps the rewards of hosting the 1991 Ryder Cup, the entire Charleston area can expect to feel the positive impact of the 2012 PGA Championship well into the future.
Perrin Lawson III
Charleston Area Convention
and Visitor Bureau