MYRTLE BEACH – (WBTW) The sports tourism industry in Myrtle Beach has boomed in the last decade as the City places emphasis on supplementing summer travel season during slow months.
The City reported significant growth during the 2018-19 fiscal year after new partnerships and events were brought to the Grand Strand.
Sports Tourism director, Tim Huber, says while volleyball, basketball and volleyball bring the most people here, the City looks to add more unique events. Last year, the sports tourism department hosted a kickball tournament and a crossfit competition.
Three of the new events the Beach United Myrtle Beach Pre-Season Soccer Classic, Goombay “Kickin’ It at the Beach” Kickball Tournament and the Beach Town Throw Down brought in $600,00 in direct-spending. Those events also brought in about $10,000 in taxes, fees and licensing.
“The lodging component, that is by and large the most significant part of that spending,” Huber said. “But it’s all the other things we have to offer. It’s all the attractions, it’s the gas stations, it’s the grocery stores.”
Huber says the boom in sports tourism began about a decade ago because of reconstruction and development of new athletic venues like the Grand Park Athletic Complex.
In addition to new events, the City also entered into several partnerships and added a new position to the deparment to focus on Spring Break Meets, a series of events that bring in $1 million annually.
Although many events return to Myrtle Beach every year, Huber tells News13 that doesn’t necesarily mean the same visitors.
“Kids age out of a particular event or particular age group so we’re always cycling through first-time visitors to Myrtle Beach which is one of the other really beneficial things with sports tourism is that people get their introduction to Myrtle Beach through sports.”