Branding Upper Dorchester County: How a new marketing initiative aims to attract tourism and spur economic development in the rural Lowcountry

Dorchester County, SC-Led by the Dorchester County government office, a new marketing plan is being executed to promote the upper part of the county.

Building on the recommendation from a 2010 retail study to promote the towns of St. George, Reevesville, Harleyville, Ridgeville, and Dorchester as one distinct region, the “Villages of Dorchester” concept was expanded upon and rolled out by the Upper Dorchester County Economic Development Fund and the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor (SCNHC) in 2014 including a logo, tourism inventory, and signage plan. Since then, the county has again partnered with the SCNHC to bring the brand to life through print and digital advertising, social media, billboards, and public relations.

Paid media efforts are rolling out this spring and will be an ongoing effort; all highlighting the unique places in Dorchester County. The overall strategy includes partnering with municipalities including in particular the Town of St. George and the Town of Summerville.

Dorchester County Council Chairman Jay Byars notes of the project, “This is an exciting partnership that our county is blessed to participate in and will increase awareness of what many of us will already know: Dorchester County has tremendous history and culture to celebrate, investigate, and explore. This collaboration will enhance the education and engagement of our established county resources and it's just one more reason Dorchester County is a great place to live, work, and play.”

The upper part of the county is, according to SCNHC President and CEO Michelle McCollum, just the kind of authentic experience tourists are looking for.

“There is a huge interest right now for experiencing the outdoors and finding unique destinations,” stated McCollum. “Both of those qualities are found right here in Upper Dorchester, where you can explore nature and history beyond the traditional Charleston experience. Particularly special to the Villages of Dorchester are opportunities for kayaking, hiking, fishing, birdwatching and photography.  We will focus on these unique qualities to bring more tourism traffic, and dollars, to the area.”

The Villages of Dorchester project is funded jointly by Dorchester County Accommodations Tax funds and is matched by the SCNHC. For more information destination marketing by the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor visit www.revealsc.com. For more information on Dorchester County visit www.DorchesterCounty.net. For updates on the Villages of Dorchester visit www.villagesofdorchestersc.com