Air travel in May up 30% from 2009

Myrtle Beach, SC - MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - More travelers are making it through the revolving doors at Myrtle Beach International Airport, according to the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.

Whether it's the summer season heating up or concerns over the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, more travelers are hitting the Grand Strand. The MBACC said Wednesday air travel was up 30 percent in May 2010 compared to the previous year.

"We just wanted a beach vacation, and we were a little bit scared of the oil spill," vacationer Jennifer Miller said.

New flights are making it easier and cheaper for travelers. Miller and her family didn't fly direct, but they look forward to more nonstop flights.

"It would have been a lot easier [to fly direct] because I have a 3-year-old I'm traveling with and I had to get her on the plane and off the plane," she said. "But it wasn't too bad."

Two new airlines began service to Myrtle Beach this year, and the current airport expansion will allow for more vacationers to visit the Grand Strand and stay in its hotels, where despite the economy, business is booming, according to Hilton-Myrtle Beach GM Bob Barenberg.

"We are seeing numbers up across all avenues of our booking channels for the summer," Barenberg said. "Our business is great. It's up to last year and some of that has got to attributed to these new airline flights."

Chamber officials say it's not just that. They have increased advertising in certain markets and made it cheaper for airlines to fly into the area.

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