North Myrtle Beach tourism on track to have one of ‘best years in recent memory’

Accommodations tax collections for North Myrtle Beach grew by more than 35 percent in May, and local officials there said they anticipate that growth to be reflected in June and July numbers, as well.

The North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce released a report Aug. 18 showing gains in visitors during the 2017 spring and summer seasons. The announcement, according to the chamber, comes “on the heels of an aggressive and innovative branding initiative aimed at claiming a unique spot in the hearts and minds of regional travelers.”

Marc Jordan, president and chief executive officer of the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau, said May 2017 accommodations tax receipts show the city reported a 35.8 percent increase in collections — “a result of several factors, including successful marketing and branding, with a strong focus on building spring and fall shoulder seasons, great weather and a very favorable Easter and spring break calendar,” according to a press release.

This bump, layered onto a 10.3 percent gain in March, set the stage for a big summer, according to the release issued by the chamber.

Preliminary A-Tax figures for July and August 2017 supports the notion that the destination of North Myrtle Beach is heading toward one of its best years in recent memory with an anticipated strong summer finish.

To reinforce that optimism, The North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce, CVB, polled its member accommodations, attraction and entertainment operators on how closely their summer numbers were tracking along with the aforementioned increases and the responses were almost exactly the same, with a reported range in increase from 9 to 21 percent, or an average of 15 percent. Chamber, CVB polls showed that bookings even the first two weeks of June, which are typically unpredictable due to school release dates in feeder markets, trended upward.

Another encouraging sign, according to chamber, CVB member accommodations who responded to the survey, is the improvement in inventory. As older properties age, rental companies are encouraging homeowners to continue to make capital improvements and updates to rental units and homes to stay competitive.

The chamber, CVB tourism staff also sense that the unfortunate power outage in the Outer Banks of North Carolina led thousands of tourists vacationing or planning to vacation in there forced to recalibrate their travel plans, with South Carolina’s northernmost coastal area, the North Myrtle Beach area, being the beneficiary.

Finally, the fact that North Myrtle Beach posted an 11 percent increase in new vacationers in 2016, bodes well for the future, said George DuRant, senior vice president of tourism development at the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce, CVB.

“What an encouraging year it’s been for tourism in North Myrtle Beach,” DuRant said. “As a destination that has always excelled in repeat patronage, we sought to ‘put more new loyalists into the pipeline’, targeting older millennials, a higher income demographic and select new geographical targets. As the chamber and CVB look toward a strong finish in August, North Myrtle Beach is poised for a breakout year.”

As the North Myrtle Beach brand gains more and more traction, media coverage has dramatically picked up. One of the many popular angles used about the area is the unique nature of Main Street, Ocean Drive, and the importance of preserving the independent, “mom and pop” culture that is increasingly rare, especially in larger resort areas.

On June 26, Country Living Magazine included North Myrtle Beach at No. 5 in their list of “23 Best Small Town Main Streets in America.”

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