MYRTLE BEACH — A current examine suggests the Grand Strand is in a great spot heading into the upcoming tourism season regardless of uncertainties over the nationwide economic system.
Whereas the state’s tourism hub shouldn’t be anticipated to see file numbers from earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic, a examine launched for the Myrtle Seaside Space Chamber of Commerce by guide Tourism Economics mentioned the realm ought to see visitation numbers this 12 months just like 2022 with many family budgets being constrained with inflation results and Federal Reserve rate of interest hikes.
Popping out of the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in summer season 2021, Myrtle Seaside Worldwide Airport posted among the state’s prime passenger tallies and space accommodations noticed greater than 90 % occupancy charges — a 30-percentage level enhance in comparison with 2019 and 2020.
Pent-up demand for leisure journey is anticipated to proceed by 2023, with greater than 17 million guests to Myrtle Seaside anticipated to spend $16 billion this 12 months, which is a 2.7 % enhance over final 12 months, in accordance with the examine. The common every day price paid for a room is predicted to be $175 an evening this 12 months, or $1 increased than in 2022.
“We see good issues for the journey sector throughout the nation, and we have now no motive to count on something completely different in Myrtle Seaside,” mentioned Geoff Lacher, senior economist at Tourism Economics. “The vacation spot will even have a very good 12 months subsequent 12 months.”
Robert Salvino, an economics professor at Coastal Carolina College, mentioned tightened family budgets pinch demand for tourism however mentioned if there’s a nationwide recession, it’s anticipated to be completely different from earlier years.
“The numbers aren’t essentially exhibiting a lot of a decline in general tourism exercise, even with the very gentle recession they’re predicting, which I believe is a secure prediction given what rate of interest financial coverage is doing and inflation does appear to be exhibiting that it’s pulling again,” Salvino mentioned.
Nationwide inflation was slowing on the finish of the 12 months.
“We’ve got additionally already handled a 12 months of rates of interest doubling,” Salvino mentioned. “That’s a robust destructive headwind on client budgets. We haven’t seen as sturdy as a fallout as you’ll have anticipated.”
In recent times, the Myrtle Seaside Space Conference & Guests Bureau has marketed itself as a extra year-round vacation spot, holding seasonal occasions together with the Winter Wonderland at The Seaside on the positioning of the previous Pavilion amusement park in an effort to herald extra guests. The town just lately made Tripadvisor’s record of “Prime 10 Trending Winter Locations for U.S. Vacationers.”
A examine from Longwoods Worldwide confirmed that each $1 invested in a Myrtle Seaside promoting marketing campaign generates $180 in direct customer spending and $24 in native tax revenues.
“These efforts keep tourism and maintain our economic system and employment alternatives year-round,” chamber president Karen Riordan mentioned.
Salvino mentioned that the first driver for tourism within the Myrtle Seaside market will at all times be the sunny, heat climate of the summer season evidenced by the typical every day price of accommodations final 12 months of $97 in January in comparison with $226 in July.
“We’ve got the snowbirds, however they’re on no account the most important element of our tourism market,” Salvino mentioned. “It’s been extending for a very long time, however it has not fully flipped Myrtle Seaside to the standing of turning a totally year-round vacation spot by any means.”