Experts optimistic on Grand Strand tourism

Myrtle Beach, SC - MYRTLE BEACH, SC (AP) - If happy days are not quite here again, experts say they are approaching for tourism on South Carolina's Grand Strand.

The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reported Wednesday city council has been told things should slowly improve along the 60 miles of beaches on the state's north coast. The Grand Strand is the heart of the state's more than $18 billion tourism industry.

Don Schunk of Coastal Carolina University says the area could come out of the Great Recession stronger, although tourism this year may only be slightly ahead of last year. He says a typical visitor will likely spend a bit more on vacation this year.

Taylor Damonte of Coastal Carolina says hotel bookings could reach 80% occupancy early next month, up about 10 percent from the same time last year.

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