MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – During the pandemic restrictions of 2020, the tourism industry suffered, and Myrtle Beach was no exception. However, in recent years tourism has continued to trend upward.
“(In 2021), every property we had was booked– June, July, and August without a single vacancy,” said Ryan Swaim, general manager for Dunes Realty Vacation Rentals. “Same thing in 2022.”
Swaim said after seeing record tourism numbers in 2021 and 2022, his company and other hospitality companies expected 2023 to be a slower year.
“We were very, very pleasantly surprised,” said Swaim.
In a statement to WMBF News, Karen Riordan, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, claims tourism development fee collections this past summer exceeded expectations.
She added that the tourism economy generates about $11 billion per year for the city’s economy. Additionally, this just benefits residents living in the area full-time.
“Property taxes here for a full-time resident are very low, and that’s because the tourists contribute so much money to the economy through money they spend, but also through the taxes and fees that come back into the local community,” said city spokesperson Mark Kruea.
Swaim added that occupancy rates have gone down slightly in 2023, but revenue has gone up because of a trend of higher rates.
“Myrtle has always been known as a blue-collar destination, a very affordable destination, and we still are, but a lot of accommodations want to try and raise rates a little bit,” said Swaim. “We have a lot more to offer now than we ever did in the past—a lot more attractions, a lot more fine dining, and so we’re really trying to raise the profile of the area in general.”
Riordan also said that she expects the rest of 2023 and 2024 to look a lot like 2019 did– a strong year without the impacts of COVID-19.
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