MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Governor McMaster made a visit to Myrtle Beach on Wednesday to recognize South Carolina’s seventh straight record year for tourism growth. Tourism across the Grand Strand weighed in, making a significant contribution.
Among the largest tourism destinations in the state, the Grand Strand brought over 20 million vacationers, generating 10.8 billion dollars, according to recent 2018 reports released by The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce this week.
Nearly two-thirds of the state’s tourism industry comes from the coast including the entire Grand Strand. That’s two-thirds of $24 billion.
The governor anticipates more continued success and record years in the coming year. “Now we have made our stride and businesses from around our world are coming here to invest hundreds of millions and billions of dollars,” Governor McMaster said.
The state has hired a record number of people in jobs over the years and Governor McMaster said unemployment rates may be the lowest in history. The Grand Strand currently accounts for more than 57,000 tourism jobs.
The booming economy drives business to the area… but what’s making them stay?
Governor McMaster said after he’s spoke with many businesses and large corporations relocating or expanding to the region, the reason people come is because of the people already here and the hospitality offered.
The governor presented The Hospitality Award of the Year to a Myrtle Beach employee, Patricia Gardner, who continues to make significant contributions to the business’s success.
“Visitors come in and want to spend money on vacation. It’s that hard-earned money they want a great value and we certainly offer that in most of our communities, Duane Parrish, Director for the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism said.
Food and entertainment draw large crowds, but something else keeps them coming back. “It’s the experience today. Whether it is a craft brewery, an Airbnb stay, or just a day on the beach, it is the experience they are looking for, and we have those things here, many of which are unique to our state,” Parrish said.
The 2019 Myrtle Beach tourism report will be released in the spring.