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Rock Hill, Grand Strand nab top state tourism awards

Staff Report //February 22, 2018//

Rock Hill, Grand Strand nab top state tourism awards

Staff Report //February 22, 2018//

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Rock Hill and Brookgreen Gardens took home awards for tourism industry achievement at the S.C. Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Travel, held this week on Hilton Head Island.

The Governor’s Cup was presented to the 2017 UCI BMX World Championships held in Rock Hill. The cycling event featured 3,700 riders from 48 countries. The event attracted nearly 20,000 people with an estimated cumulative attendance of 55,000 during a six-day period.

“We appreciate the recognition for the event and the support of our partners, the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism, the Olde English District Tourism Commission, the Rock Hill/York County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and our community, who helped make the event a success,” John Taylor, director of the Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department for Rock Hill, said in a news release.

Rock Hill reported an economic impact of more than $19.2 million from the event, with more than 27,000 hotel room nights sold. The online viewing audience for the championships extended around the world, with more than 513,000 webcast views, making it the highest-viewed challenge class races in BMX World Championship history.

The Bundy award was presented to Brookgreen Gardens for its annual Nights of a Thousand Candles holiday event. The Bundy award recognizes local or regional programs that help extend the full benefits of tourism to the state’s rural areas.

In November and December, the sculpture garden and arboretum featured 5,500 hand-lit candles. The event had an overall attendance of 53,000, with more than half coming from outside the local area.

“We are honored to receive this recognition for our signature event at Brookgreen,” said Page Kiniry, CEO of Brookgreen Gardens. “The staff and volunteers dedicate their creativity and hard work to showcase the beauty of the gardens and illuminate the vision of the Huntingtons for thousands of guests from around the country.”

The Hospitality Employee of the Year was presented to Maribeth LaMuraglia, assistant GM of Dagwood’s Deli and Sports Bar in Surfside Beach.

“We are proud and lucky to have someone like Maribeth working diligently in the South Carolina tourism industry,” said Duane Parrish, director of the state tourism department.

Also recognized at the conference was Brad Dean, CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, for lifetime achievements in tourism. He was given the Fred P. Brinkman Award by the S.C. Travel and Tourism Coalition.