Business. Brief.

SC Anticipates Big Year for Tourism

Also: SC Company Rolls Out Prescription Cost Comparison Tool

By Elwood Hamilton
Monday, February 17, 2014

The South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism isn’t shying away from its expectations for 2014.

“I think it will be a great year for South Carolina,” Director Duane Parrish told The Associated Press last week.

Parrish explained his reasoning like this: for starters, several key tourism indicators are coming off strong performances last year. State park revenues, admissions tax dollars, and revenue per available lodging room all set new records in 2013. On top of that, Parrish cited stable gas prices and a recovering economy as additional reasons to feel bullish about the industry overall, especially considering close to 80 percent of South Carolina’s visitors are from out of state.

Also contributing to the rosy outlook is a $2.5 million ad campaign touting “Undiscovered South Carolina,” which is designed to raise the awareness of smaller towns such as Conway, with its river walk and historic district.

Bonding and Contracting Symposium

To raise awareness of the kinds of opportunities available from the City of Columbia and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), a Bonding and Contracting Symposium is set for this week at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. Designed specifically for contractors, the event is set to take place on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 10 a.m.

Representatives from the SBA will be on hand to talk about their bonding program and speak directly with local contractors, who will also have the opportunity to network with other professionals from their field. The symposium is free, and the city is encouraging all small, women, and minority owned general contractors and subcontractors to attend.

South Carolina-based Website Rolls Out Prescription Drug Comparison Tool
In the name of helping consumers navigate the murky waters of the nation’s health care system, an Easley-based web developer has introduced a tool designed to help consumers compare the new prescription drug pricing introduced by the federal Affordable Care Act.

Pill-Fill, a site that allows users to aggregate their prescription drug information in one central location, went live late last year, the Charleston Post & Courier reported. Michael Ramirez of Easley developed the site after he saw consumers needed an easy way to compare and manage prescription drug pricing, coverage, and interaction information. Pill-Fill hooks into many of the country’s more popular pharmacies and is available on mobile devices.

And just recently, Pill-Fill made waves when it introduced a tool called Formulary Compare, which allows users to enter a list of their prescription drugs and find out which federal insurance policy is the best fit for their needs. Ramirez said he wanted to give consumers a leg up on the March 31 deadline to choose their plan.

“You have to go into these ridiculous documents [on] that are sometimes hundreds of pages long. They’re all coded differently,” Ramirez told The Charleston Post and Courier. “I wanted to provide a simple way.”

City Hosting Business Tax Incentive Workshop
The City Of Columbia is teaming up with the Columbia Empowerment Zone, Inc. and the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce to host a tax credits and incentives workshop for business owners on Thursday, Feb. 27 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, located at 930 Richland St. The workshop is free and open to all business owners and tax preparers. To RSVP, visit


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