Hotel occupancy rates hit 70% for the first time in 2010

Myrtle Beach, SC - MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Myrtle Beach occupancy rates have hit 70 percent for the first time in 2010, according to Coastal Carolina University's Dr. Taylor Demonte.

Adam Townsend with Caribbean Resort and Villas says the weekend was very busy.

"Yesterday, in the parking lot I must have spoken with at least 10 different vehicles full of people just asking if we have rooms," Townsend said. "They just drove down and stopped to see who had rooms available."

Demonte, who teaches resort tourism at Coastal, says because Easter falls earlier than last year, it is hard to compare exact weekends, but if you combine the weekends surrounding the holiday, 2010 is a little stronger than 2009.

Columbia resident Douglas Rarrick says he hopes to be back again soon.

"I haven't been here in years, " he said. "But I think after a little stay here, yeah, it's going to be more often."

Townsend believe the weather plays a part, especially with people living in the Carolinas.

"When it's 80 degrees and you see the weather forecast people from Columbia or Florence or Charlotte are just shooting down for the weekend," he said.

Demonte says the rest of April already has strong numbers, and he expects those occupancy rates to grow as the month goes on.

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