Jul 25

20th C. Tourism 8-7.2

In this lesson, students will create a web design to chart the effects of tourism on South Carolina.

Click here to download the full lesson with attached handouts. 20th C. Tourism

Historical Background

“In the post war period, the state of South Carolina continued a tradition begun in the late 19th century of promoting Northern tourism to Southern climes. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, moneyed Northerners were attracted to such places as Aiken and Camden for temperate outdoor pastimes (horse racing and hunting) and had bought up former plantations for hunting and relaxation. These large tracts of land were purposely left undeveloped providing the state with parcels of land that later became national parks and preserves for research, recreation and tourism such as Brookgreen Gardens and Huntington State Park. In the postwar period, the wide availability of the automobile and the expansion of highways by the national government [Federal Defense Highway Act] during the Eisenhower administration accelerated the development of the tourist industry begun in the 1920s.

Motels and fast food restaurants followed the building of highways and resort development gave Americans a place to go. Charleston and the South Carolina coast, especially Myrtle Beach, became popular vacation destinations. The greater availability of air conditioning contributed to the growth of tourism in South Carolina during the hot summer months. As the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boom generation age and retire they are looking for places to play golf and tennis and to enjoy their golden years. Resorts such as Hilton Head Island and other South Carolina resort islands answer this demand. The development of these islands threatened existing communities and gave South Carolina the unique opportunity to preserve the cultural heritage of the African-American experience of the region.”

South Carolina Social Studies Support Document, Grade 8, 2008 http://ed.sc.gov/agency/Standards-and-Learning/Academic-Standards/old/cso/social_studies/social.html

“In SC, tourism has led to the displacement of low country communities, an increase in waste and pollutants, and the destruction and drastic altering of ecosystems.  Tourism also frequently results in overcrowding, traffic congestion and pollution.  However, the industry has also greatly increased tax revenues, and provided a variety of jobs and economic opportunities to South Carolinians.  In some cases (Florida), tourism can have a far-reaching impact on an entire state or region.

In 2007 nearly 40% of all visitors to South Carolina came for recreational purposes (beaches, entertainment, etc.)  Of all out-of-state vacationers in South Carolina in 2007, 46.5% visited for beaches, 38% for shopping, 26% for fine dining and 13% for golfing.  In 2007, tourism in South Carolina generated $7.3 billion in wages and salaries and equaled 12.6% of the total state employment.  Total value of tourism equaled $11.6 billion or 7.6% of the total state economy.”

Courtesy South Carolina Department of Parks Recreation and Tourism.

South Carolina Standards

8-6.4 Explain the causes and the effects of changes in South Carolina culture during the 1920s, including Prohibition, the boll weevil, the rise of mass media, increases in tourism and recreation, the revival of the Ku Klux Klan, and the Southern Literary Renaissance.


8-7.2 Provide examples of the expanding role of tourism in South Carolina’s economy, including the growth of resorts and development along the coast and the expanding transportation systems that allowed greater access to recreational sites.


3-5.3 Summarize the changes in South Carolina’s economy in the twentieth century, including the rise and fall of the cotton/textile markets and the development of tourism and other industries.


  • Students will create an organizational web to chart the effects of tourism on South Carolina.
  • Students will understand that any major change in an economy can often have unforeseen negative side-affects.

Time Required                                                                    Recommended Grade Level

1 class period                                                                          Middle/High/Elementary

Lesson Materials

Lesson Preparation

  1. Print cluster web and Landform Regions map for students in your class.
  2. Download  photographs for student analysis.
  3. Choose appropriate questions from primary source analysis document.
  4. Prepare an outline of information from the “Background Information” above suitable for your students.

Lesson Procedure

  1. Have students list any tourist spots in South Carolina that they have visited.  Ask them to imagine what that area might have been like before it became a tourist destination.  What would not be there without the impact of tourism?
  2. Show photos of South Carolina Recreation and tourism.  For each picture ask students what impact each particular tourist spot might have had on the local economy, environment and population.
  3. Divide students into groups of three.  Give each group a copy of a blank web design template.  Tell each group to brainstorm the effects of tourism and to put their ideas in the correct space on the web.
  4. Teacher may then project a blank copy of the web design and ask students to come to the front of the class to fill in web.  This can be done by either drawing a blank design on the board, using an overhead with a transparent copy or digitally with a Smart Board or projector.


Each groups’ web design can be graded.  Students should be expected to create four subtopics and eight facts.  Each fact can be graded for 10 points each and each subtopic for five points each for a total of 100 points.

Lesson Extension Options

  • Use resources available at http://www.scprt.com/our-partners/tourismstatistics/researchreports.aspx to have students research the trends of South Carolina tourism.  Students can report their findings in a brief presentation.  You can make it a Webquest by assigning various links to different students.
  • Have students weigh in and formulate their own opinions of South Carolina tourism based on their research.

 Elementary Modifications

  • Write the word “tourism” on the board. Define this word for students.
  • Then have students write their own definition for the word “tourism”.
  • Pass out or display pictures on a large screen.
  • Have students identify what’s happening in each picture.
  • Ask students to make a list of activities that tourists might participate in when they come to South Carolina based on the pictures they see.
  • Print out a landform regions map of South Carolina. Have students identify which landform region each picture may have been taken in. (This step assumes that you have covered land form regions in a previous lesson.)
  • Explain to students how tourism helps South Carolina.  See paragraph above for background information.
  • Have students write out in their own words how tourism helps South Carolina.

Digital Collections Information

This lesson plan is based on images and/or documents derived from the Primary Sources for K-12 Pilot Project collection available from the University of South Carolina’s Digital Collections Library.

To see other collections that may be helpful to your search, visit the Digital Collections homepage or visit SCDL’s collections.