Charleston hotel magnate Duane Parrish is expected to lead the state’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. Gov. Nikki Haley announced the selection last week as one of the final pieces of her cabinet. “When you think about economic development, you think about tourism as well,” she said in a press conference announcing the pick. “It’s about heads in beds. It’s about people in restaurants. It’s about marketing South Carolina.”
Parrish has spent more than two decades in the hotel industry, including leading renovations at the Francis Marion Hotel, serving as deputy director of the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, and founding his own hotel management firm, Premier Hospitality Group. Parrish thanked Haley for giving him the opportunity to “market the greatest product in the country.” According to the governor, Parrish’s first job will be finding a private sponsor for The Heritage golf tournament in Hilton Head.
Earlier this week, Haley picked Sullivan’s Island resident Chad Walldorf to chair the state’s Board of Economic Advisors. A former deputy chief of staff to Gov. Mark Sanford, Walldorf will be providing economic forecasts for the state’s five-member Budget and Control Board and the legislature.
“There is considerable work ahead of us given our state’s difficult budget situation,” Walldorf said in a statement. “However, I am encouraged by the team Governor Haley has put together and her vision for conservative reform that she is implementing.”
Walldorf helped from ReformSC and the South Carolina Club for Growth. Both groups endorsed Haley in the 2010 GOP primary and ReformSC was behind a high-profile TV ad campaign.