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New Clemson tourism program receives high participation

Emma Vick // News Editor
The program included various local boutiques and shops that are located in downtown Clemson.

The Visit Clemson marketing team implemented a new, experimental tourism program in late December and early January. This program was enacted with the “Holiday Passport to Clemson,” a physical shopping pamphlet that describes downtown Clemson businesses and supports shopping locally.

Lauren Gamrat, the tourism and community event coordinator for Clemson, reviewed the Holiday Passport program at the Jan. 16 Clemson City Council meeting after it was implemented from Dec. 1, 2023, until Jan. 12.

Gamrat noted that the goal of the program was to reach 50% customer participation, and Clemson achieved 89%.

“This holiday edition was a soft launch of the passport program as a whole, and the intention is to expand on it,” Gamrat said.

The interactive program required participants to pick up a passport at participating businesses’ locations. Participants then made a purchase of any value, collected a sticker from a staff member at check out and redeemed the passport for a prize by Jan. 12.

Visit Clemson recommended that people call participating businesses before partaking in the program or visit businesses’ websites to clarify dates, hours and accessibility. Users could collect an exclusive prize by gathering five stickers from participating businesses, turning in their passports and redeeming the stickers by visiting the Visit Clemson staff at Clemson City Hall.

The passport reviews the different restaurants of Clemson, including the custom blended ice cream at Andee’s Spill the Beans, unique and locally sourced dishes at Evolve Kitchen + Table, restaurant and bar Loose Change, a New York native’s favorite Joe’s New York Pizza and more.

The holiday passport also encompasses the various products that customers can shop in downtown Clemson’s boutiques. Some of these include children’s clothing at Southern Heirs Children’s Boutique, custom-designed diploma frames at Clemson Variety & Frame, clothes at Emmaline Boutique, gifts and home decor at The Little Curiosities Shoppe and Clemson spirit wear at Tiger Sports Shop.

Clemson advertised the program through displays at the participating businesses, as well as Facebook posts, email blasts and posts on the participating businesses’ social media.

“I received wonderful feedback from the customers that have participated, and many of them asked if I was going to do this again. I am definitely going to do it again. It’s going to be bigger and better and a lot more fun,” Gamrat said.

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Kat Pugh
Kat Pugh, Asst. News Editor
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