As the debate over the Confederate flag continues, some say it has kept countless tourism dollars out of South Carolina.
In 2002, the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville hosted the NCAA men’s basketball tournament – bringing a flood of people and tourism dollars into the local economy – but that would be the last time such an event would visit the Upstate.
In 2001, the NCAA announced that no post-season sporting events would be coming to the state of South Carolina as long as the Confederate flag flies on Statehouse grounds and after an NAACP boycott.
As Governor Nikki Haley calls for lawmakers to bring the flag down, chambers of commerce from Anderson and Greenville to Greer and Spartanburg are supporting that decision, saying there’s an economic case for doing so.
Allen Smith, President/CEO of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce says business can only get better by improving the state’s image.
“Companies too are evaluating South Carolina, and the more welcoming signals we send, the better off we’ll be,” Smith explained.