MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — A three-week-long baseball and softball tournament that comes to a close Thursday has brought people from across the country to Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand as new data shows a big uptick in hotel occupancy rates compared with a year ago.

The latest statistics from the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors Bureau showed hotel occupancy rates are up nearly 50% compared with this time last year.

Events like the Youth Baseball Nationals at Grand Park in The Market Common are just one boost for the local economy this time of year. During the week of July 11 along, more than 100 teams have played in the tournament. Overall, more than 250 teams have participated.

“It brings in a ton of money for Myrtle Beach,” said Tyler Fitch, the tournament’s director. “People come, they eat out at restaurants, they’re shopping, they’re going to attractions within the city such as the Skywheel, Broadway at the Beach. Obviously, they’re playing at this gorgeous facility.”

It cost at least $700 for each team to play in the tournament, and the average dollar amount made for a room per day during the past week was more than $400 according to the MBACC/CVB report.

Teams came from as far west as California and as far north as Illinois.

“We have teams that have been three, four years in a row and teams who [this] is their first time being here,” Fitch said. “So it’s a unique experience to see the teams that have been here multiple times talking to the teams that have been here the first time, just seeing where to eat, where to go out, have fun at.”

Linda Prestia, a mother of a baseball player in the tournament, said they flew from Illinois to avoid the fluctuating gas prices and have enjoyed being on the Grand Strand.

“It’s our first time out here in beautiful South Carolina,” she said. “This is a great field. We’ve never been able to play on a field like this. We were one of the only families on the team that flew, and we were glad we did.”