CLEMSON — Clemson University’s Conference Center and Inn complex has a $14 million average annual impact on the local economy and maintains more than 345 jobs through operations and patron spending in South Carolina, according to a study.

The study, by the Regional Dynamics and Economic Modeling Laboratory at the Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs, looked at the economic impact the complex had on Pickens, Oconee, Anderson and Greenville counties each year from 2006 to 2010. It studied the impact of the operations of the Madren Center, Walker Golf Course and Martin Inn, as well as the impact of dollars spent by visitors to the complex.

The $14 million includes the direct, indirect and induced impacts of the Conference Center and Inn. Direct impact includes the jobs and incomes of Conference Center and Inn employees and purchases of goods and services from local suppliers. Indirect impact counts the jobs and incomes created by those suppliers. Induced impact is the increased economic activity in the local economy through consumer spending resulting from income generated by the Conference Center and Inn’s economic activity.

“Ripples in a pond is a good illustration to describe indirect and induced effects,” said Rob Carey, interim director of the Regional Dynamics and Economic Modeling Laboratory at the Strom Thurmond Institute. “Every time someone spends money at a business, then that business is able to turn around and spend money somewhere else, and so on.”

That “ripple effect” also has an impact on job creation, Carey said.

“For every 10 jobs created at the Conference Center and Inn, an additional seven jobs are created by spillover at other local businesses,” he said.

Not only does the complex help create jobs by providing support for local businesses, it helps educate students going into the hospitality industry, said Jeff Martin, director of the Conference Center and Inn.

“Many Clemson students have benefited from internships, practicums and entry-level jobs in the hospitality field. Adding a skilled work force in an important industry in South Carolina,” he said. “The Conference Center and Inn, from its inception, was designed to support the academic mission of the university and the economic value of South Carolina.”

The complex also helps bring in revenue for local and state government, according to the study. Governments on the municipal and county level received an average of $475,000 in net revenues per year from Conference Center and Inn operations and guests. The state government received an average of $1.5 million per year directly and indirectly from the complex. Most government revenue comes from taxes, such as sales taxes paid by visitors to the complex.

“We always felt that the Conference Center and Inn was a powerful economic engine, and this study confirms that,” Martin said. “We are proud of this contribution and look forward to continuing supporting the hospitality industry in this area for many future years.”

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