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Total solar eclipse marks state’s largest tourism event

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Last month’s eclipse saw at least 1.6 million people travel to or within South Carolina, making it the largest single tourism event in the state’s history.

The State of Columbia reports research released Wednesday by the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism compared hotel occupancy rates, hotel inventory and surveys of people in states that have a high concentration of frequent visitors to the state to come up with the visitor figure. The study extrapolated that the tourism around the total solar eclipse pumped $269 million into the state’s economy.

Department spokeswoman Dawn Dawson-House says the attendance figure doesn’t include international visitors or those from states outside the survey area.

She says hotel occupancy statewide was up 50 percent, as tourism usually winds down in the third weekend in August.

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