CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Just in time for the summer season, South Carolina, which launched one of the nation's first state tourism websites two decades ago, has given its site a $500,000 overhaul.
The new site is more interactive — suggesting activities based on visitor responses, allowing visitors to build their own vacation itineraries and can be translated into 80 languages.
The site, which went online last month at the same address of http://discoversouthcarolina.com , helps the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism draw travelers to South Carolina where tourism is an $18 billion a year industry.
"The website is our primary means of engaging with the consumer," said department director Duane Parrish. "Their expectations for quicker searchers and more relevant information have grown exponentially."
Department spokesman Marion Edmonds said South Carolina was one of the first states in the nation to launch a tourism website back in the 1990s. That was a time when sites were static and not a whole lot more than the contents of a tourism brochure put online.
"Traditionally the individual had to work their way through the pages and try to figure out exactly what they wanted," he said, adding it wasn't much different than thumbing through a paper brochure.
The revamped site is more like the sites of major retailers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble that suggest items based on what the visitors has already looked at. Edmonds said it's the biggest overhaul since the department went online.