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SC Sea Grant Consortium
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Coastal Business and Economics
The coast is a valuable locus of economic activity in South Carolina. The SCSGEP Coastal Business and Economics program takes a smart growth approach to the wise and sustainable use of coastal natural resources for economic benefit, quality of life, and the enjoyment of residents and visitors, now and in the future. The Business and Economics Extension Program provides informal education programs to assist coastal, natural resource-dependent businesses in developing effective environmental management programs, plans, socioeconomic issues, marketing, and global trade. Contact:

Examples of How We Work:

Business Assistance

The Business Assistance Program works with Consortium institution research faculty to develop and deliver interdisciplinary extension education programs for coastal water and natural resource dependent businesses, including marinas, aquaculture farms, nature-based tourism operations, commercial fishing, marine trades and others.

The program provides assistance to entrepreneurs in the creation of new businesses and works with existing owners to maintain existing businesses and identify development opportunities in coastal communities. The extension specialist plans, promotes, and conducts seminars and workshops, and speaks to business groups, community groups, and agencies on business and economics topics. The program assists small businesses plan and develop coastal recreation, tourism activities, and enterprises which contribute to a vigorous economy and abundance of healthy natural resources.

Environmental Management System Guidance

Environmental Management is an important tool to effectively manage a businesses impact on the environment. The Coastal Business Assistance Program provides natural resource dependent businesses with guidance needed to develop and implement a formal environmental management system based on the ISO 14001 standard.

Sustainable Tourism Development

Tourism dependent industries are increasingly concerned about their impacts on the environment and how to simultaneously reduce operational costs. The Business Assistance Program provides nature-based tourism operations with guidance needed to develop and implement a sustainable tourism operation via a formal environmental management system.

Valuation of Natural Resources

Environmental economics is a subfield of economics concerned with environmental issues. The Coastal Business and Economics Specialist works with various resource economists, state/federal agencies, commercial firms, coastal communities, and university research faculty to coordinate programs and activities related to the valuation of coastal and marine resources. Resource economics focused on the valuation of coastal and marine resources in the context of continuing demographic and development pressures is applied in extension programming. The program facilitates community access and engagement with the partner institutions and their expertise and resources.

Nature-Based Tourism (NBT) Conferences

In 1994, the first statewide Nature-based Tourism workshop was organized under, in part, SCSGEP's leadership. It attracted over 125 participants, received media attention from state newspapers and television, and was even mentioned in USA Today. SCSGEP has taken a leadership role in six such conferences.

Nature-Based Tourism Guidelines

Under SCSGEP's leadership, an ad hoc task group from academia, state natural resource agencies, and the private sector developed guidelines and recommendations as an industry standard to encourage a sustainable NBT industry in South Carolina. The S.C. Nature-Based Tourism Association (NBTA) later adopted them as its guide for industry standards and practices.

The S.C. Nature-Based Tourism Association

The SCSGEP helped found the S.C. Nature-Based Tourism Association, and continues to support it as a Technical Advisory Board member. The association promotes sustainable NBT development, educates and assists small NBT businesses, provides quality assurance in NBT services, and encourages voluntary industry self-regulation.

Nature-Based Tourism Marketing

In 1996, the SCSGEP and Clemson's Recreation, Travel, and Tourism Institute helped the NBTA begin marketing natural resource-based vacations in South Carolina. A directory listing natural resource-based businesses and public facilities, such as state parks, was produced. Later, the NBTA published "South Carolina Adventures," a series of South Carolina nature vacation packages, used in tourism promotion efforts at home and abroad.


Last updated: 12/7/2017 12:34:44 PM
Coastal Business and Economics


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