RBC Heritage a big boost to local economy - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

RBC Heritage a big boost to local economy

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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) -

The 46th annual RBC Heritage Golf Tournament kicked off with a bang on Monday.

The tournament brings millions of dollars to Hilton Head Island and South Carolina every year, but this year some businesses are preparing for fewer people because the tournament coincides with Easter weekend.

Last year, and the year before that, Easter fell during the month of March, so business was booming. With this weekend being Easter weekend, a lot of shop owners are expecting less traffic, but they're trying to stay positive.   

Charlene Elder couldn't keep people out of Nells Harbor Shop during last year's RBC Heritage Golf Classic, and the same goes for some of the other shops in the area.

"We were slamming," said Elder. "Last year, Easter was the last week of March, and we were slammed. We had wonderful people and numbers."

However, Easter is this weekend, and Elder and many other owners at Sea Pines Harbour Town resort are expecting fewer people to come out to the Heritage, which means fewer people stopping by these little shops and eating at the restaurants.

"It hurts a little bit having them both fall on the same week," said Kay Emmert, owner of S.M. Bradford Co.

Emmert said it's ok though, because there's still going to be thousands here this week, bringing millions to the state.

"It's wonderful for the island, it's a wonderful thing go Harbour Town," she said. "It's a special week, and it's a fun week."

USCB and Clemson are working together to study the Heritage's economic impact on the Lowcountry. When they did the study in 2010, they determined the tournament brings in about $82 million to the state, and they're expecting to seen an increase this year.

"This is an important piece for the economy and Hilton Head Island, particularly this time of year," said Clemson professor Bob Brookover.

And Emmert couldn't agree more.

"It's very beneficial," she said. "It's an exciting week, and we love it."

The USCB and Clemson students will be here all week doing surveys, and they say they should have the preliminary results of their study complete by June. This study helps the Heritage keep their current sponsors, and also helps them get more.

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