COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - We are getting a better idea of just how many people were in the Palmetto State for the total solar eclipse.
Officials with South Carolina Department of Parks and Recreation said more than a million people were here to view that solar phenomenon, leaving an economic impact of more than $269 million.
The department also says about 1.6 million people traveled to the state for the eclipse last month. And if that sounds big, you're right - the eclipse is listed as the largest single tourist event ever on record in our state.
"Not only does this research confirm what our indicators hinted at weeks ago, it puts the picture into sharper focus, adding more definition to the eclipse's total impact," said SCPRT Director Duane Parrish.
About 800,000 visitors were from out of state, primarily from North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Most people who traveled to or within South Carolina to view the eclipse stayed overnight and reported participating in activities such as shopping, unique local dining, beach activities, visiting historical attractions or engaging in outdoor recreation.
Other eclipse stats include:
- Most visitors viewed the eclipse in the Greenville, Columbia or Charleston metro areas.
- About 48 percent of out-of-state visitors and one-third of in-state travelers indicate they went to an optimal viewing site like a park, a mountain site or coast.
- About 23 percent of out-of-state visitors and 25 percent of in-state travelers reported participating in an organized solar eclipse event.
- Nearly all of the respondents rated their experience as “excellent” or “good,” describing their time in South Carolina viewing the eclipse as “unique,” “amazing,” or “once in a lifetime.” The few “fair” or “poor” ratings were almost all due to poor weather.
- Another 3.8 million South Carolinians did not travel but saw the eclipse in their hometowns.