MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Despite the reports of violence, the Memorial Day holiday weekend brought in big numbers for business. Although the official numbers haven't been released, CCU tourism experts anticipate a big jump from last year.
AAA Carolinas predicted South Carolina highways to have the busiest Memorial Day weekend in years, and it seems plenty of people were driving to the beach. The latest report shows Grand Strand area hotels were nearly 90 percent booked, which is higher than Memorial Day weekend last year.
At one hotel on the south end, employees said it was fully booked.
It was also a busy weekend for police, with law enforcement handling 5 shooting incidents and traffic accidents. Because of the violence, some are questioning how this will affect tourists. WMBF News talked to a visitor who's been coming to Myrtle Beach for Memorial Day weekend every year for the past 14 years, and he says he has no plans to change that. He expressed that most people just come, spend some of their money at local businesses and have a good time.
"I paid for the room and that was $900, I spent about $1,800 to $1,900 dollars," said Rodney Hinton, visiting from North Carolina. "We just come down here, relax and enjoy Memorial Day weekend. Then go back home and try to regroup."
Brad Dean with The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce released a statement saying safety is necessary for tourism to thrive, and the violence from the weekend could impact future visitors planning trips. These issues and more are expected to be discussed at the Myrtle Beach City Council meeting at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.