Hilton Head-Bluffton Chamber reps rub shoulders with queen, Roker during London Jubilee

gmartin@islandpacket.comJune 5, 2012 

Viewers of Tuesday morning's "Today" show on NBC might have spotted the leader of the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce beside Al Roker, while the reporter broadcast from Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee in London.

Chamber president and CEO Bill Miles is in England to promote the Hilton Head area as a tourism destination.

The brief television segment featured Miles, along with other South Carolina tourism representatives, joining Roker in a toast commemorating the queen's 60th year on the throne.

Miles is accompanied on the mission, which was not publicly announced in advance, by chamber vice president of communications Charlie Clark and Orchid Palmeier, the owner of One Hot Mama's American Grille on Hilton Head Island.

In an email, Miles said the chamber paid $5,000 for the trip, which was organized by Charleston-based Coastal South Carolina, USA, a destination-management company catering to the European market.

Representatives from the Charleston and Myrtle Beach chambers also are in England, part of a coalition that recently advertised South Carolina's coastal destinations at Harrod's department store in London.

According to Miles, those chambers also each paid $5,000 for the trip.

Miles called the "Today" appearance "phenomenal international coverage" for South Carolina, as its regular viewership is 4.1 million.

He said the coalition has been traveling on annual sales missions since the 1980s, and this year's trip happened to coincide with the Jubilee.

About 15 people are on the trip, according to Marion Edmonds, director of communications for the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, which also helped orchestrate the mission.

He said the department has an office in London. The chamber representatives, he added, will be courting tour operators and travel agents.

Edmonds said the coalition members would also be pitching their respective destinations to the English travel media -- "their equivalent of Southern Living" -- informing them of new developments and attractions, such as the 2012 PGA Championship on Kiawah Island.

He said Palmeier would likely prepare traditional Lowcountry cuisine for the English media in a public appearance later this week.

Related content

  1. Hilton Head area promoted abroad with chamber campaign, May 29, 2012
  2. Today Show segment

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