CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- The Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, Richard Verma, was in the Lowcountry Monday, talking with city leaders.
The visit from the deputy secretary comes as Charleston’s population and tourism industry continues to skyrocket.
“This continues to be yes a great American city but also a great center for international visitors as well,” Verma said.
Verma and city leaders also took a look at the state as a whole, which is experiencing the same growth.
“Just last year alone, 2,500 foreign students coming in to study in South Carolina, 4,500 cultural visas that were issued. That’s in addition to the business visas and all the commercial travel, the tourism,” Verma said.
Verma and city leaders had a conversation about the most pressing needs Charleston has when it comes to development and trade.
One of the topics is flooding in downtown Charleston.
“The mayor already has a great program with the Dutch government where we share information about how to do the adaptation for rising sea levels and the challenge that the Europeans have had to deal with and now you’re dealing with here,” Verma said.
Another part of the discussion was the port, which is recognized as one of the most important ports across the country.
“To utilize that to increase trade and commerce for businesses here in South Carolina,” Mayor of Charleston, John Tecklenburg said.
Mayor Tecklenburg said they want to work with Verma and the state department to expand its usage.
“It’s a significant part of international relations with the state of South Carolina and the world. The businesses we’ve attracted here locally. Of course, Boeing is in the air, but Mercedes, Volvo, BMW upstate. They wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the port authority,” Tecklenburg said.
After meeting with city leaders, Verma went to The Citadel and spoke to students about how they could play a role in making Charleston a better place.