Myrtle Beach area occupancy rates remain high during fall

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Myrtle Beach hotels and resorts were busier this past month compared to the same time frame the last two years.

Data from the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce shows occupancy rates were nearly 20% higher in October this year than last year and 30% higher than in 2019.

Shane Rowan, general manager at Zombie Zone on Ocean Boulevard, hopes the increase in tourists deeper into the traditional offseason becomes the new normal.

“Shoulder seasons on both sides have been much better including the dead of winter has been better,” Rowan said. “We’re experiencing a year round phenomenon right now, and we really hope that it lasts.”

Rowan said last fall and this fall are about equal. He added that both “crushed” previous years.

“This fall has been excellent,” Rowan said. “Last year was also a really good fall––blew the numbers out of the water compared to any numbers we’ve had previous to last year.”

Susan Stewart is on vacation in Myrtle Beach until Nov. 21 with her husband Tom. They live in Connecticut and have been visiting Myrtle Beach since the ’80s.

Stewart said this is the first time they’re staying for a month. Part of the reason for the extended stay is the couple is considering moving down to the region.

Stewart said October is the best time to visit.

“It’s not so hot,” Stewart said. “We love the weather here. It’s just starting to get cold up North, so we can extend our summer a bit down here.”

Tyrese Cason and her husband Jerry are on vacation through Monday from Maryland. They just sold their house and are in the process of having a new one built.

Cason said she and her husband needed a trip to the beach.

“It was a lot of work, and we just wanted to get away for a while to relax,” Cason said.

Her last visit to Myrtle Beach was 15 years ago. Cason said the city has changed for the better since then.

“It’s changed a lot,” Cason said. “It’s very nice. I think it’s much nicer than it was when we were younger.”

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce said bookings for the next two months are also outpacing bookings during the previous two years. The chamber pointed to the impending reopening of the Canadian land border, more flights in and out of Myrtle Beach International Airport, and the new and upcoming Winter Wonderland at the Beach Festival as contributing factors to the increase in bookings.

“Our chamber members are immensely encouraged by these findings as we enter our holiday season, because a strong, year-round economy ensures that our businesses and workforce can thrive,” said Karen Riordan, chamber president and CEO, in a news release. “This is true not only for our hospitality and leisure industry employees, but those who work for the multitude of ancillary businesses who depend on the tourism industry.”

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