New Concession Contract Awarded and Set to Begin for Fort Sumter on May 15

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Date: May 16, 2017
Contact: Dawn Davis, 843-883-3123, x213

Fort Sumter National Monument officials announced that the new commercial services contract has been awarded to Fort Sumter Tours, Inc. The new contract 10- year contract will begin on May 15, 2017. Fort Sumter Tours, a family-run company, is the current park concessioner with years of operating experience at the park.

“I am pleased to announce Fort Sumter Tours as the concessioner at Fort Sumter National Monument,” said acting Superintendent Laura Segars. “The concessions operation is critical to the visitor experience at the park. Fort Sumter Tours’ business plan outlines a commitment to exceptional guest services, a strong environmental ethic, and a focus on providing visitors with the history of the fort and surrounding area that aligns with the mission of Fort Sumter National Monument. We are looking forward to working together over the next 10 years.”

Required services under the new concessions contract include passenger ferry service from two departure points, evening passenger ferry service, and food and beverage services. Authorized services include retail, beer and wine sales and additional Fort Sumter tours.

The new contract will provide visitors with an interactive and downloadable mobile web app with virtual reality capability and integrated online ticketing. New state-of-the-art audio visual systems on the boats will have close captioning to share interpretive content about the cultural and natural resources of the park. Plus, this contract includes upgrades to the concession operated dock at Patriots Point to enhance the visitor experience including new interpretive exhibits, signs, and covered queuing area.

The new contract requires the concessioner to transition over the first two year to environmentally friendly hybrid vessels. These state-of-the-art vessels will cut diesel emissions by using electric propulsion motors relying primarily on shore power and, less than 28% of the time, on clean burning EPA Tier 3 diesel generators. Renewable energy systems will be installed including: solar power for marine electronics, emergency lighting, and water heaters. The contract franchise fee also increases to 18.125% from a franchise fee of 12.5% for revenue $4M and below, and 13% for revenue over $4M.

“The Fort Sumter Tours Team is excited to continue its partnership with the National Park Service,” said Chip Campsen, President of Fort Sumter Tours, Inc. “We are honored the Park Service has once again entrusted us with stewardship and visitor service responsibilities at Fort Sumter National Monument, one of our nation’s most historic resources.” Fort Sumter Tours was started by the Campsen family in Charleston in 1961 and is current concessioner for the park.

 The selection of the park concessioner is the result of a competitive process that is required by the National Park Service Concessions Management Improvement Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-391). An interdisciplinary team of NPS professionals from across the nation reviewed, analyzed and rated the proposals to ensure that the selected concessioner was capable of providing the best experience for visitors and best protection of park resources.

National Park locations in the Charleston area include: Fort Sumter, Liberty Square-visitor center and ferry departure site, Fort Moultrie and Charles Pinckney National Historic Site. For more information on park news, events and programs you can follow us on Facebook at,,, or visit the park’s websites at and or call (843)883-3123. You can also share your park experience with others by posting on social media with the hashtag #FindYourPark.

Last updated: May 16, 2017

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