MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Tourists are expected to flock to the Grand Strand this holiday weekend.
More than 160,000 rooms are available in the region. According to the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, over 80% of the rooms have already been booked for the weekend.
Karen Riordan, President and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, said the occupancy rate should keep climbing this week.
“As we go into the Fourth of July weekend we do expect that we are going to see occupancy at its highest rate to date,” Riordan said.
In 2019, the occupancy rate in the region was 58% on the Fourth of July. The holiday fell on a Thursday that year.
Lahcen Benhoummad, manager at the Bargain Beachwear on North Ocean Boulevard, said the store is ready for the influx of tourists.
“A lot of tourists, a lot of people are coming in here on this special day — this special weekend,” Benhoummad said. “They spend a lot of money, so we’re glad to see them over here this weekend, and we’re waiting for them.”
This tourist season has seen a resurgence for the industry after it was hit hard by the pandemic.
Mo Almohammad, manager at the Atlantic Hotel North, said he’s thankful for the industry’s roaring comeback.
“To be honest, I haven’t seen [this many tourists] for a long time,” Almohammad said. “It’s helped a lot. The economy is better because I think people got checks, and it’s helping them spend, too, so it’s helping a lot.”
The Atlantic Hotel North is fully booked for Saturday night.
“This time of year it’s going to be hard [for people to find rooms] because everybody’s booked,” Almohammad said. “A lot of people need to change their reservation [or] extend their stay. They have cancellations or they’re trying to rebook. It’s gonna be hard to find them rooms.”
Benhoummad will be working this holiday weekend. He said he’s excited for the rush of people.
“I’m going to be here ready for people, waiting for people,” Benhoummad said. “I’m glad to serve everybody that’s coming on down here.”
Karen Riordan predicts this increase in tourism to peak this weekend but hold strong all summer long.
“We do expect that the Fourth of July may be a zenith, but that we’re going to have an incredibly successful July and August and into September,” Riordan said.
Riordan also has a simple message for the visitors.
“[We] want everybody to be safe, have a great time, and just enjoy everything that we have to offer,” Riordan said.
The number of tourists on the Grand Strand is expected to increase by the day this week leading into the weekend.