MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — As 2021 comes to an end, The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce called it a remarkable year for tourism, redevelopment and hospitality.
Karen Riordan, the chamber’s president and CEO, said the two leading factors were the family friendly environment and being an affordable place to visit.
“Just an absolutely remarkable year, not anything any of us could have predicted coming off 2020,” Riordan said.
The fastest growing city in 2021-22 according to U.S. News and World Report, Myrtle Beach made quite the impression following an unpredictable 2020.
“I think there’s a number of reasons,” Riordan said. “The top one is just that 60 miles of coastline. I think we’re also blessed in terms of our geographic location.”
A record year for tourism alone, data shows visitor growth in all months of 2021 compared to 2019 and 2020, and more than 90% occupancy in August.
“Our strengths continue to be a family-oriented place, and again, an affordable place for people to come,” she said. “So I think those two things really factored into our popularity for 2021.”
To bring the downtown area more attraction, redevelopment throughout the city was a big focal point. Earlier this month, the city voted to purchase $15 million worth of land as part of revitalization efforts.
“People are always looking for what’s new,” Riordan said. “We’re always changing and we’re evolving. We’re always bringing new things which is important for visitors. It’s also important for those of us who live here.”
But perhaps a chamber favorite — the Southwest Airlines addition; something Riordan said was 10 years in the making.
“Southwest never really thought Myrtle Beach was big enough to really support them, and the fact that we were able to land that… that’s really, really big for us,” she said.