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Hospitality and Tourism

Richland County aims to attract heritage tourism

Hospitality and Tourism
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Richland County’s Conservation Commission is working on plans to attract more tourists interested in African-American history.

The commission is currently working with the county’s procurement office to select a vendor to develop a heritage tourism marketing plan for Richland County, according to a news release. It will also carry out a campaign to bolster the county’s ability to attract visitors who want to learn more about African-American history and culture.

“Some important parts of that history are here in our county,” said Glenice Pearson, chair of the commission’s Historic Committee. “A number of efforts have been mounted to interpret and recall that history, but there’s still a lot of history that can be told.”

Once a marketing plan is developed and Richland County Council approves it, officials estimate the project would take nine months to a year to develop.

The marketing plan will rely on input from historic site leaders, stakeholders, potential visitors and others to highlight a variety of sites, natural resources and other county-based resources so travelers will be able to select from a menu of experiences during their stay.

Richland County’s heritage and tourism sites include the Museum of the Reconstruction Era at the Woodrow Wilson Family Home and the Modjeska Monteith Simkins House in downtown Columbia as well as the Reconstructed heritage tourism trail, which tells the story of the Reconstruction era in Columbia.

“Historical and cultural resources in Richland County are important to highlight because they provide an opportunity for everyone to learn and interact in a positive way around our history and culture,” said Quinton Epps, the county’s conservation division manager.

The approaching January opening of the International African American Museum in Charleston helped spur the project, according to the release from Richland County.

“With the International African American Museum in Charleston approaching its grand opening, Richland County’s Conservation Commission is working on plans to drive heritage tourism closer to home,” the release stated. “Set to open in January, the IAAM is expected to bring local, regional, national and international visitors to Charleston to learn about connections across the African diaspora, the spread of African-American culture and influence, and the movement for justice and equality.”

Information about heritage tourism sties in Richland County is available online at

Reach Christina Lee Knauss at 803-753-4327.

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