May through mid-June tourism just slightly higher than 2011

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) — The check-in desk at Palmetto Shores resort in Myrtle Beach was a busy place Friday. Employee Helen Garcia said she could tell the tourism season is now well underway.

"Business has been kicking," she said. "It's definitely been busier than it was last month."

Despite the flurry of activity Friday though, Garcia said it felt like other recent weeks have been less busy.

"It's already the end of June, and we've been slammed in previous years," she explained. "This year it's a little off."

Dave Moser at the Parrot bar and grill agreed that business has been a little flat lately. Earlier in the spring though he thought the tourism season was off to a good start.

"When spring break started out we were really busy," Moser said. "We thought great. If this is the way the season is going to be we're going to make up for lost time."

Tourism researcher Dr. Taylor Damonte from Coastal Carolina University said the tourism season so far this year may feel a little good and bad because occupancy rates are very close to what they were at this time last year.

The number of visitors is only slightly higher than in 2011, and that can be difficult for a person to gauge without hard figures to review.

"The season is stacking up as a marginal increase over last year," Damonte said.

The most recent occupancy report shows that small increase over last year from early May through mid June.

The last week or so is making Moser feel a little better though.

"We're starting to get busy at nights and on the weekends," Moser said.

Damonte is predicting a little more of an uptick through the rest of the season too.

"[It] appears to be more of the same with visitation levels at or slightly above last year," Damonte said.

Garcia said she believes the summer will get a little busier. She is already looking forward to it.

"Once it hits July though, we do have some sold-out dates here," she said. "So that's going to be awesome."

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