Nice new state plates

"Smiling Faces. Beautiful Places" might have more of a friendly lilt than "Travel2SC.com." But we prefer the latter as an adornment for the state license plate.

The old "Smiling Faces" motto has been on the aqua blue and white S.C. tags since 1998. But a state law passed in 2002 calls for license plates to be replaced every six years.

The new design, featuring the state's Palmetto and moon symbol at sunset, will include the Web site Travel2SC.com. Those curious enough to venture to the site when the new plate is introduced next year will be linked to the state's official tourist site.

Marion Edmonds, communications director for the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, refers to the new plates as "millions of free little billboards." And those billboards will travel all over South Carolina and around the nation.

Whether that will result in millions of hits on the Web site remains to be seen. But it's worth a try. State officials note that tourism is the state's top industry, so why not advertise on our license plates?

Furthermore, the license plate, overall, is a snazzy design. It features a shade of dark blue authentic to the color of the state flag, our unique palmetto tree and crescent symbol and sunset hues ranging from rose to light blue.

That beats a Carolina wren that didn't resemble the real bird and the drippy phrase, "Smiling Faces, Beautiful Places." We look forward to the new plates and hope they induce more people to "travel to South Carolina."