MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - As Labor Day approaches, those in the hospitality industry prepare for the offseason to officially begin.
“It came in with a boom and then a bust,” said Ray Harter, who owns the Dunes Village Resort and the South Bay Inn and Suites in Myrtle Beach, about the influx of tourists who checked in when they got the go-ahead to reopen.
But as cases climbed in Horry County and more states linked infections back to trips to the coast, fewer travelers packed their suitcases and headed to the beach.
Harter said because cases have trickled back down, things are steady.
“We’ve got a respectable occupancy, although the rate is down a bit,” he said.
The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce said heading into the fall, they just unrolled their new plan to keep the Grand Strand top of mind.
“Initially when we started the year we thought we would increase the amount of visitors who came in the summer but of course that didn’t happen,” said MBACC CEO Karen Riordan.
She said for some travelers who are still hesitant to be in crowds, the fall might actually be more desirable than traveling in the heart of summer.
“We do have sixty miles of wide-open beach, they will be less crowded, they are always less crowded in the fall than the summer and this year they should be even less crowded,” she added.
And Harter agreed, expecting tourists to come, but only if they have the money to do so, as many across the country face economic hardships due to the pandemic.
Riordan said they’re focused on marketing towards those in driving distances and even emphasizing to those still working remotely, a vacation in the fall is doable.
Still, she said, she doesn’t think it will be as strong as a season as last year’s fall.
“We have to understand there are fewer Americans who are willing to travel right now and we understand that and we’re sensitive to that,’ Riordan said.