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South Carolina's $18 billion tourism industry continued pattern of growth during March

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COLUMBIA, South Carolina — While rainy March weather meant a drop in attendance at state parks and visitor attractions, South Carolina's $18 billion tourism industry continues growing compared to last year.

Figures released Friday by the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism show that during March, revenue per available room - a key indicator of industry health - increased almost 10 percent over March 2014. For the calendar year to date, revenue per available room averages just under $50.

But bad March weather meant a drop of 9 percent in admissions tax revenue and a 12 percent drop in state park revenue compared to March 2014.

However, for the fiscal year that began last July 1, admission tax revenues are up almost 6 percent while state park revenues have increased more than 9 percent.

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