Drawing tourists to the lake
After 18 months of work, Lake Greenwood has its first tourism plan.
South Carolina National Heritage Corridor President and CEO Michelle McCollum presented the tourism development plan to business and community leaders Thursday during the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce's Morning Blend.
Designated by Congress in 1996, the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor is a program of the National Parks Service to promote and preserve the cultural, natural and historic resources across the 17 counties it serves.
Greenwood County and the Greenwood Regional Tourism and Visitors Bureau matched a grant from the National Parks Service for the $30,000 project, which gives the bureau a road map to branding and marketing the lake to create a sense of place.
"There's a huge sense of community here that translates over, of course, from the county down into the Lake Greenwood community," McCollum said.
From signage and guides to a new logo, the plan focuses on turning Lake Greenwood into a premier lake destination, known for its fishing, water sports and small town atmosphere.
The plan, which is meant to complement the county's master plan for the lake, by marketing the lake and sharing stories of the lake with targeted audiences.
"What really stood out to us that was different in Lake Greenwood than other lakes around the state was that small town charm and that Americana atmosphere that you felt," McCollum said.
According to the plan, the primary audience would be South Carolina sportsmen. Others would include adventure travelers, eco-nature tourists, heritage travelers and turbo-tourists, which are out-of-state visitors planning relocation, business or second home investments.
Turbo-tourists tend to return more often, stay longer and spend more money, according to the plan.
The plan recommends targeting visitors from Georgia and North and South Carolina.
The Heritage Corridor also developed a new logo, modeled after a crappie, to be used on marketing materials, social media and signage.
The plan suggests sponsoring a new topiary at the Festival of Flowers, designed similar to the crappie logo.
McCollum said new signage would make an immediate impact and could be added to the county's and city's current signage to direct people to the lake and at access points to inform people of points of interest on the lake.
McCollum said signage could also be added on bridges to grab the attention of passing boats and near gateways on the roadways to welcome people to the lake.
Kelly McWhorter, executive director of the Greenwood Regional Tourism and Visitors Bureau, said they are partnering with Connect Lake Greenwood to start implementing some of the signage recommendations as well as some marketing efforts through advertising and social media.
Connect Lake Greenwood is a newly formed organization consisting of lake residents and stakeholders, focused on promoting the lake's happenings.
McCollum said a number of local, state and national organizations can offer support in the form of grants to help put things in motion.
She recommended looking at opportunities to increase lakeside dining from picnics to restaurants, creating a lakeside amphitheater and creating outdoor outpost with boat, canoe and kayak rentals in addition to signage and marketing as first steps.