Florence welcomes holiday travelers

Florence tourism spikes downtown

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Florence's location near I-95 is an important asset for the city's tourism industry, but the newest hotel downtown is drawing more visitors into the heart of the city.

"We wanted to be the cornerstone of the revitalization of downtown and it's been so exciting with the new stores and restaurants coming," said Lyles Cooper Lyles, of Hotel Florence. "It's growing. It's getting better and better and with that we get more bookings from regulars as well as people just passing through."

Hotel Florence is celebrating its second holiday season on West Evans Street and the hotel has seen a 15 percent increase in reservations from last year at this time.

Seventy percent of the hotel's 48 rooms were filled for the holiday.

"We have seen an increase in bookings," Cooper Lyles said. "We still have availability for those guests looking for a unique boutique experience instead of the big boxes right off the highway."

The experience is also an attracting feature for tourists interested in visiting the area at any time of the year.

"Once they've found us, they often come back," she said. "You see on TripAdvisor them telling other people to come and that it's a gem they've found in downtown Florence and a unique experience for them to to come back."

The Florence Convention and Visitors Bureau has been advertising Florence in magazines and billboards in five states.

While activity at hotels, stores and gas stations picks up the days leading up to Christmas Eve and three days after Christmas, summer is still the busiest time of year for the area's tourism industry, according to the CVB.

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