Grand Strand beach shop struggles despite full hotels during Fourth of July weekend

Published: Jul. 15, 2022 at 10:10 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Recently-released data shows Myrtle Beach was one of the top destinations during the Fourth of July weekend with hotels averaging 94% occupancy.

Despite high gas prices and inflation at a record high, data shows 2022 was busier in the Grand Strand than both 2021 and 2019.

That’s according to numbers from KeyData, a worldwide provider of vacation rental market data information.

Data from 2020 was excluded due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Independence Day holiday was anticipated to be the most popular weekend to travel this summer, according to travel experts.

Even with inflation rising there was almost no correlation between the number of guest reservations being made and the price index for gas and air fares.

Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Karen Riordan said what stood out to her was the fact Myrtle Beach remained one of the most affordable beach destinations. The average cost per hotel room sat around $340 compared to $323 last year.

“The affordability aspect of Myrtle Beach continues to be a powerful driver and is part of our DNA,” said Riordan. “We’ve always been known as a place people can come and you won’t have to break the bank to stay for a week.”

Despite hotels averaging 94% occupancy, a local beach shop in Garden City said their sales have been down this whole summer.

Nisan Chiprot opened Ocean One Beach Shop Outlet five years ago and said inflation rates have been killing business.

“People just don’t have that extra money,” said Chiport.

He explained that increased costs seem to be preventing his normal customers from purchasing beachwear items. Chiport also said the store could be out of business if these spending trends continue.

“If it stays like this we’ve got maybe a year or two max. Then we’ll probably have to close up shop if it does not pick up,” he said.

Several of the beach rental companies who manage the properties around Nisan’s beach shop said they were all at full capacity over the holiday weekend.

Riordan says it’s important to stay affordable and hopes to see similar trends come Labor Day weekend in September.

“This is important now more than never due to inflationary costs at the gas pump and at the food store and pretty much any good or service you buy right now,” she said.

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