- Associated Press - Monday, February 2, 2015

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina’s welcome centers are getting spruced up.

State Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Duane Parrish says the highway welcome centers are the front porch of South Carolina and need to be inviting for visitors.

The department says that during recent months three welcome centers - in North Augusta, Santee and Little River - have all had landscape improvements. And work at the other six welcome centers should be finished before the start of tourist season.

The work includes pruning and clearing overgrown plantings around welcome center entrances and picnic areas. Workers are also adding ornamental plants and adding mulch and Asiatic jasmine as ground covers to reduce mowing.

Tourism is an $18 billion industry in South Carolina.

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