Numbers up in state, local tourism

Numbers up in state, local tourism

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - For two consecutive years, the state of South Carolina has seen a record number of people visiting local towns, eating at local restaurants, and playing on local golf courses.

One of the best examples is Myrtle Beach, but it's not just because of those three things, experts said.

"Unemployment has decreased, fuel prices are low, and consumer confidence is stabilized," said Brad Dean, president of the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce.

That perfect storm of factors could be what is behind Myrtle Beach's record growth, but Duane Parrish with the SC Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism had some other ideas as well.

He said one big thing was the advertising funded by the state and the advertising that others have done for South Carolina. He said the Big Break on Golf Channel gave golf courses along the Grand Strand a huge boost.

"Typically bring in things year round, they can bring in things in the quote, unquote off season," said Parrish. "And fill up hotels at a time when otherwise they may not be as busy."

But unlike years past, he says tourism in Myrtle Beach and all around the state is not just about golf anymore.

Many visitors are looking to get away from their phones and mobile tablets and do something more authentic. That's why having good local restaurants and plenty of outdoor activities is becoming more important, and the Grand Strand is ahead of the pack.

"All of those things play into probably the biggest variety of things in the state you can do is right here in the grand strand area," said Parrish. ?

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