Business owners notice increase in spring tourism, downtown police presence

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Spring break tourism is in full swing along the Grand Strand, with increased traffic and more people along the sidewalks.

Plus, business owners said it's the busiest spring break they've seen in quite some time, but they're not just noticing an increase in tourism. People are also seeing more police officers in the downtown area.

"The amount of police in the area really has increased and it's really helped the atmosphere down here become a lot safer," said Michelle Kerscher, manager at the Gay Dolphin Gift Cove.

Kerscher has worked at the Gay Dolphin for 10 years, one of the most iconic shops in downtown Myrtle Beach. She said this is also one of the busiest spring breaks they've ever seen in 70 years.

Springtime visitors James and Lynn Rhodes said the same. After coming down to Myrtle Beach for decades, the larger number of tourists this year came as a surprise.

"Traffic was bumper to bumper and we're not used to seeing that, not this time of year," said James Rhodes.

Rhodes, too, has seen an increase in police officers patrolling downtown Myrtle Beach.

Myrtle Beach Police Capt. Joey Crosby says the department has been making an effort to up their presence on Ocean Boulevard during the evenings throughout the spring and summer months.

Those changes have brought more families to the Grand Strand versus the usual college and teenage spring break crowd.

"Usually you have some, that spring break crowd. We see a little bit less of that this year and a lot more families," said Kerscher.

Many vacationers visiting from up north said this winter was so long they just wanted to get some place warm, at least for the weekend.

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