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‘Pre-pandemic levels’: Myrtle Beach sports tourism on track for booming fall season

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 6:25 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Sports tourism was a booming industry this past summer season and they predict things will only get busier from here, according to Myrtle Beach leaders.

Myrtle Beach Sports Tourism Director Timothy Huber said between now and the end of the year, the weekend calendar is jam-packed with sporting events.

At a glance, Huber predicts direct spending for sports tourism in 2021 will be close to $140 million. He said those numbers are comparable to what the city saw in 2019 before COVID-19.

Huber said sports as a whole this summer season was very successful and the fall season is looking to pick right up where summer left off.

“Through the remainder of October, right through November and into December, we have significant sporting groups coming to town every single weekend,” Huber said. “That’s on par with 2019. We’re expecting to continue to see some of our returning tournaments set new registration records, so it’s shaping up to be a very good fall.”

Jonathan Paris, the executive director of sports tourism with Visit Myrtle Beach, said the return of sporting events is why many are coming back to the Grand Strand.

“Throughout both the spring and summer and now into the fall, our youth and adult tournaments are back to full-strength, pre-pandemic levels,” Paris said. “In some cases, even higher. A lot of demand from missing a lot of tournaments in 2020. The events that are back now have seen very high numbers. By all accounts, it looks like the fall will be that way as well.”

Huber said in 2020, direct spending for sports tourism was around $61 million, which he said was down over 50% due to COVID. He said these numbers do not include the golf industry.

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