Study shows Murrells Inlet an economic boon for the Grand Strand

MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) - Murrells Inlet has become one of our area's top destinations, and a recent study conducted by Coastal Carolina University researchers, shows it's bringing in a lot of revenue for the Grand Strand.

A walk on the marsh walk is one reason people come to Murrells Inlet, but the area has many draws, including the only salt marsh along the Grand Strand.

You won't see a skywheel or a historic downtown; Murrells Inlet has something different to offer. You can fish, you can eat, and you can relax, all on the same strip, which is why the area has seen tremendous population increase and economic growth in the last two decades.

According to CCU researchers, the economic value of the salt marsh is more than $720 million, a benefit to both Horry and Georgetown counties.

"A lot of that has to do with the real estate values, the seafood restaurants, the retail and of course the fishing and the oyster harvest," says Sandra Bundy, Vice Chair of Murrells Inlet 20/20.

The marsh is the same place commercial fishermen launch and dock their boats and distribute the fish they catch, which the owner of Kenyon Seafood says is a huge part of the culture of the area and a sport his business relies on. He says he sells more than one million dollars worth of seafood a year, that is produced and distributed at the inlet, not just to the restaurants along the marsh, but across the US, even as far as Canada.

The marsh provides easy access to the Atlantic ocean. It's also the fishing capital of the Grand strand.The study reveals that in 2012, nearly 3,000 boats were registered within this area code.

This summer the Jetty view walk will debut its first tourist season along the Grand Strand.

The Jetty View Walk opened at the tail end of tourist season, in September. The new boardwalk, in part, funded by Murrells Inlet 20/20 not only brings people closer to Morse Park, it creates a view of the marsh our summer visitors have never seen before.

CCU researchers say in 2012 visitor spending in the 29576 zip code was more than $497 million dollars, and half of that money came directly or indirectly from the Marsh, which local business owners see as a huge benefit to the Grand Strand as a whole.

"If we didn't have Murrells Inlet, I would imagine it would be a pretty big economical downfall here because there's a lot of business that its brought in here through all the restaurants, and people love to come and eat our fresh local seafood," says Wayne Mershon, owner of Kenyon Seafood.

Restaurants are a major draw. in 2012 alone, $44 million in the Murrells Inlet area was generated by restaurants on or across from the Marsh.

You can view the complete study here: http://bit.ly/1pBKkgd

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