Patriots Point is close to reaching many of the goals it set in 2012 in a three-year plan to boost revenue and attendance.
The vision set forth by the Patriots Point Development Board includes updating the museum exhibits with interactive technology and investing upwards of $500,000 in an aggressive marketing campaign.
So far, the ramped-up efforts appear to be working.
The tourist attraction is about $1.4 million shy of its objective to bring annual revenue to $11.7 million by July of 2016.
“We are ahead of schedule and we need to keep that momentum going,” said Executive Director Mac Burdette.
Attendance also is close to its target number.
The plan aimed to grow admission sales by 20 percent to reach 260,000 visitors each year.
About 250,000 people paid to visit the seaside attraction in the fiscal year that ended in June 2013, and Burdette expects at least 10,000 more visitors by July this year.
Patriots Point, a state agency that does not receive state funding, has consistently grown its sales and attendance in each quarter since 2011.
In the past six months, earnings from ticket and gift shop sales have increased by nearly 12 percent compared with the same span a year ago.
The extra earnings are intended to help the development board repay the $9.2 million loan it borrowed from the state in 2009 to repair the destroyer Laffey, one of Patriots Point’s main exhibits. That project was completed in 2012.
The board also needs to restore the aircraft carrier Yorktown, a massive undertaking with an estimated cost of at least $81 million.
Funds for that project will be primarily raised by land development contracts on the state agency’s 367-acre property at the edge of Mount Pleasant.
The Patriots Point Development Committee met last month to discuss putting together a request for proposals from tenants.
The committee agreed that the right tenants must be financially sound, cohesive with Patriots Point’s concepts, and they must also be willing to develop the property as soon as possible.
The goal is to raise lease revenue from $1.6 million per year to $5 million.
Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail.
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