The Outlook for Hilton Head in 2025


When the Great Recession slammed into Hilton Head Island in 2008, it zeroed in the island’s primary revenue sources: Real estate and tourism. The malaise sent the number of visitors plummeting and, more importantly, property values tumbling. Local business people scrambled to try to stop the free fall.

Throughout 2009, local business leaders arranged meetings to sound the alarm that Hilton Head wasn’t alone in battling the outgoing economic tide. Tony Fazzini, then president of Hilton Head Hospitality Association, was among the first to invite community leaders to open discussions about what they were experiencing. The talks also were intended to help the association, representing primarily food and beverage businesses, plan its direction, said Ann-Marie Adams, former executive director of the association.

A study the year before stated that the number of visitors — representing 70 percent of the island’s retail revenue — had fallen 20 percent in less than 10 years. People were bypassing Hilton Head for brighter, shinier resorts and developments elsewhere.


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