Charleston — the No. 1 tourist town in the world — was inadvertently insulted last weekend.
At least we hope it was inadvertent.
In one of its weekly columns, “The Buzz,” The State newspaper in Columbia recounted a spat between our own state Rep. Leon Stavrinakis and the governor.
Stavrinakis called hypocrisy on Gov. Nikki Haley for taking undue credit when Conde Nast readers voted us the best tourism town in the world. Stavrinakis pointed out that she often vetoes money to help the tourism industry.
Fair point, but not the point here.
The Buzz put it like this: “South Carolina's CEO visited Charleston on Wednesday to celebrate the region being named the best tourist town in the world — seriously? — by Conde Nast.”
Seriously? Not sure what we did to deserve that.
To paraphrase a classic movie, they can't say that about our city. Only we can say that about our city.
Just between us
If we weren't the most polite city in America, as well as the No. 1 tourist town in the world, we might be a tad offended by such a slight.
But no, we are gracious and empathetic. So don't hate poor Columbia for lashing out at us. The city is just feeling a little insecure these days.
A lot of this is about tourism, which has long been a sore spot with Columbia. The city likes to brag that it has the top tourist attraction in the state — the Riverbanks Zoo. It is, to be sure, a very nice place. Stop and see it if you're in Columbia and bored.
Which you will be.
But there is no sense in being snotty. Charleston should just prove itself the bigger city by helping Columbia get on a fancy Conde Nast list of its own.
All we have to do is pitch Columbia as a destination for veteran travelers. How about:
Come to Columbia, the heart of Dixie; if you don't believe it, just check out the flag at the Statehouse.
It is a charming town. Columbia sits on a scenic river — well, part of the year — and is home to many, many bars, some of which serve pretty good food.
Columbia is a town of tradition. Every Friday in the fall, you can hear a recording of a rooster crowing through downtown. It gets the locals excited about whoever was coming to town to play the Gamecocks that weekend — sometimes even on national TV!
So come to Columbia: Two hours from the mountains. Two hours from the beach. Minutes from Irmo.
That should do the trick. Next year, when Traveler puts out its readers' poll, everyone be sure to cast a ballot for our sister city. With any luck, we can get them a spot on the list ahead of Columbus, Ohio.
And frankly, we don't really need the votes.
Reach Brian Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @BriHicks_ PandC.
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