Future of Beaufort's horse carriage tours debated (update: a forced monopoly on the horizon?)

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Update May 20: According to a report from the Island Packet, one city council member is reaching out to the state attorney general to ask wether council can consolidate the two horse-carriage companies competing for business around the area into one company.

The idea, which the council member admitted was still in the early stages of its development, could be one way of increasing efficiency for tours around the city. One obstacle which stands in the way of such a plan being allowed to put in place, however, involves a former verdict reached by then city attorney Bill Harvey in 1996, who said that only by way of a vote within the legislative branch of state government can sole proprietorship be granted to one company receiving state dollars.

Head over to read that article here.

First reporting: The debate on the future of Beaufort tourism reemerged as a primary concern amongst City Council officials at their meeting Tuesday, March 17.

The Tourism Management Advisory Committee and the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce's Visitors and Convention Bureau presented their findings at the meeting, which included claims that tourism injects "over $1 billion" into the local economy, saves an average of $700 per household in taxes, and is the primary job creator in the county.

(Head over here to check out some more of those findings)

The issue of horse-drawn carriages is perhaps the most heated part of the discussion, and was not left ignored by council members on Tuesday. The argument amongst those who oppose involves the perceived 'hassle' that it causes for their governing body, thus leading them to push for further regulations on the local industry.

The Packet has some write ups about the meeting, here's their most recent one, or follow this link for an older article on the issue.

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