GOP Debate prompts hotel bookings, attracts some criticism

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) The Republican Primary Debate in Myrtle Beach may still be six weeks away, but hotels are already starting to see bookings for the event. The Sheraton Hotel, located next to the debate's venue at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, already has a majority of rooms reserved by the South Carolina GOP.

"They've reserved a block of rooms, and will provide a list of who will be staying with us," said Sheraton General Manager Suzanne Hinde. Aside from the candidates and their campaign workers, thousands of spectators are expected for the event, bringing with them an economic boost to the Grand Strand in what is generally a very slow month.

"It's an exciting time," Hinde said. "A lot of people will be walking through and there will be lots of different events."

In order for the debate to be at the Convention Center, the Grand Strand Juniors Volleyball Tournament, which was already booked for that weekend, had to move. Some of the games that would have been in Myrtle Beach have now been moved as far away as Florence, prompting some potential guests to rethink their travel plans.

"We do have some reservations with the volleyball group," said Hinde. "We are reaching out to see if they still want to be here."

The fact that the tournament has moved to make way for the debate has some opponents of the GOP raising their eyebrows. Members of the Horry County Democratic Party say they're thrilled for the national exposure, and are excited for any political event.

They don't understand why the Debate has to take place at the Convention Center, when there are other acceptable venues around town.

"If someone's made a reservation, they should keep their reservation," said Democratic Party member Brian Scott. "They could have found another place to have the debate."

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