The Greenville City front is on the schedule for 48 riverboat stops this year.
Since the boats started arriving for a generally single-day stay since 2015, the number of stops has steadily increased.
The riverboats — named the American Duchess, American Countess and American Queen — generally arrive before noon, serve lunch on the boat and then allow the passengers to tour downtown Greenville.
The tours take the passengers to the 1927 Flood Museum, The Greenville Museum, the E.E. Bass Cultural Arts Center and several other destinations in town.
The passengers ride on charter buses to the various locations. Each of the busses has a tour guide who answers questions about Greenville.
There have been as many as three different boats landing in Greenville and this year will see three boats as well, one of them new. The new boat is also a boon to Greenville.
“The biggest reason is the addition of another boat to their fleet,” said Wesley Smith director of the Washington County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. “This year, the American Countess is coming online to join the American Queen and American Duchess.”
The first boat will arrive on Tuesday, Jan. 14, and the others will follow every two weeks until February. Weekly visits will start in March and continue through October. There will be a few remaining visits in November and December.
While the riverboat passengers don’t have a huge economic impact in downtown Greenville, they do provide an opportunity for the town.
“There have been thousands of people who have visited Greenville who likely wouldn’t have otherwise,” Smith said. “The museums see a bump in revenue that has been a great help in their upkeep.”
The buses are easily spotted downtown and so are the visitors.
“If you are downtown and see the passengers walking or getting off a hop on hop off bus, greet them and welcome them to Greenville,” Smith said.
The increase in traffic will also show an increase in need of local tour guides. While Smith’s office doesn’t coordinate the guides, they can put interested parties in contact with Anne Martin, who does handle the guides. The number for Smith’s office is 800-467-3582.