Leisure and hospitality employees driving Greenville’s record-breaking recognitions and visitors

Approximately 48,000 employees provided customer experiences and accommodated 7 million Greenville visitors last year.
Greenville saw a record seven million visitors last year with wages rising nearly 30 percent above pre-Covid levels
Published: May. 9, 2023 at 10:00 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Greenville has been called ‘The South’s Best City on the Rise,’ and ‘The South’s Tastiest Town,’ but you can’t have robust tourism without accommodations and a strong workforce. In addition to record breaking titles, the city is seeing record breaking visitors.

We’re at Reedy Rides: Bike Rentals and Tours where general manager Alexander Skellenger is facilitating the chance for people to navigate on two wheels.

“We get a lot of people from California, and New York -- and recently we’ve had a large group from Ireland,” Skellenger said. “Biking opens up a lot of opportunity in Greenville.”

And keeping the tourists satisfied, and rolling are his mechanics.

“Our team members are the core of our business, we couldn’t run this without them,” Skellenger said.

VisitGreenvilleSC executives say a record number of visitors wouldn’t be coming to Greenville without them either.

“We look at the shiny, physical assets as the things that bring people here, and (National Travel and Tourism Week) is a week for us to shine a spotlight on and celebrate these 48,000 people who come to work every day who try to wow and provide exceptional customer experiences,” said Heath Dillard, VisitGreenvilleSC president and CEO.

Dillard is referring to the bike mechanics, valet attendants, servers, bartenders, and everyone else in the Leisure and Hospitality industry who brought a record breaking 7 million people to Greenville, last year. Enough to fill Clemson’s Memorial Stadium over 80 times.

“Businesses are certainly in a competitive position for talent and tourism is really the front porch for broader economic development,” Dillard said.

He adds Greenville benefits as a Sunbelt City, a location that attracts visitors who can either fly or drive.

“We have a lot of places that are within a very close proximity,” Dillard said.

“Greenville’s got something unique in how we’re structured,” Skellenger added.

Something unique that’s fueling a growing international food scene, national accolades, and a thriving arts and culture.

“I think locals would have a hard time telling you what their one thing is. And really that’s been part of the secret sauce here,” said Dillard. “There isn’t that one thing – there’s a little bit for a lot of different people.”

Which leads us back to the robust workforce supporting the brand: ‘Yeah, that Greenville.’

“For us personally we’ve grown 20% to 50%,” Skellenger said.

Wages are also higher, 29% higher than pre-Covid levels.

“Travel and tourism is still a human centric operation. we want to be greeted at the front desk and we want to be served by humans,” Dillard said.

And there’s a workforce happy to drive the economic engine of travel and tourism.

“It’s been really good for cyclists like us here in Greenville,” Skellenger said.