Myrtle Beach business leader expects pandemic recovery for tourism to take two years

MBACC CEO expects pandemic recovery for tourism to take two years

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The year 2020 was a difficult one for businesses along the Grand Strand, and the recovery process will likely take a long time.

Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Karen Riordan expects that process to take two years.

“We at the CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) believe it’s going to be a 24-month journey to really fully recover,” Riordan said. “So we are not anticipating being ‘back to normal’ in ’21.”

Especially disheartening, Riordan said, is the fact that January and February 2020 were both good months for tourism, which was right before the COVID-19 pandemic started shutting businesses down.

She expects the recovery process to be a long road ahead.

“We believe it’ll take ’21 and ’22 to be back to the 2019 levels we had experienced,” she said.

Riordan also said the vaccine rollout will play a major role in getting tourism numbers back up.

“We know as more and more people get vaccinated, the confidence and comfort level will go up,” she said. “So we’re expecting to have a strong second half of the year.”

After going through many past challenges, business owners along the Grand Strand are up for any challenge thrown their way, according to Riordan.

“This year, I think people in our community - maybe because of our experience with hurricanes and other natural disasters - are very resilient, very good planners, and I think they’re ready for this year,” she said.

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