CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – In its second year of revival, the Charleston Sternwheel Regatta exceeded the revenue brought in during its inaugural return.
The Sternwheel Regatta Commission, the City of Charleston and the Charleston Convention & Visitor’s Bureau announced the five-day event had an economic impact of $37.2 million for the city, up from the $31.5 million in 2022. At the time, the 2022 economic impact was the city’s largest economic impact from an event in at least 10 years.
Officials say this year’s economic impact directly supported nearly 8,000 local jobs in the area.
“Directly supporting nearly 8,000 jobs and generating a total economic impact of $37.2 million, the Charleston Sternwheel Regatta continues to positively impact our Capital City and the region,” said Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “Together, with the support of our community and partners, we will use this forward momentum as we plan for 2024, helping ensure more folks can experience the nostalgia, energy, history and excitement of this summertime staple.”
This year’s Regatta also drew in a larger crowd with approximately 220,000 attendees, up from 210,000 attendees last year. The Regatta Commission says of those who attended this year, approximately 20% traveled from more than 50 miles away. Following the local Charleston-Huntington metro area, the top origin markets visitors came from were Washington D.C., Pittsburgh, Parkersburg and Cincinnati.
“We’re especially pleased to see growth in the Washington, D.C. market,” said Tim Brady, Charleston CVB president and CEO. “Last year, they were our fourth-largest segment, jumping up two slots this year. Their estimated visitor spend is approximately 44% higher than other markets. So, not only did more people come from DC, but they also spent more money.”
The Charleston Sternwheel Regatta represents the best in our community, a spirit that transcends socio-economic boundaries, bringing citizens and visitors together in celebration and camaraderie,” said Alisa Bailey, Sternwheel Regatta Commission president.
Officials say preparations are already underway for next year, but no dates have been set yet for the 2024 Charleston Sternwheel Regatta.