MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – Tourism leaders said this summer could set records for the number of visitors coming to the area for sports.
The Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce said sports tourism events this summer will have a positive impact on the local economy as athletes often travel with their families and extend their visit while in town.
This summer, there will be 10 to 11 weeks of youth sports including baseball, softball and basketball for both boys and girls.
Leaders with the chamber said the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on sports events last year. The area was closed from March 15 to June 15 last year, according to Jonathan Paris, the executive director for Visit Myrtle Beach.
“What we saw was about 50 percent or so participating numbers last year coming out of COVID and part of that was just hesitancy to travel, part of that was restrictions,” he said.
Baseball teams from all over the country are participating in the Youth Nationals. One team came from Illinois to Myrtle Beach.
“We signed up for the tournament at the beginning of the year we felt that our team could come down here and compete with teams from other states,” Brett Gautcher, a coach, said. “It is always fun to travel and just play teams we normally don’t play back at home.”