Thanksgiving travelers give hotels last boost for 2013


Grand Strand tourism businesses, you might say, could be thankful for Thanksgiving. Next week’s holiday traditionally gives campgrounds and hotels a surge in business for this off-season time of year, generating what is usually the last busy weekend for the beach until next year.

About 60 percent of vacation rental properties are reserved next week, while occupancy at hotels, campsites and condo-hotels for the weekend of Nov. 29 is expected to hit about 50 percent — potentially higher if the weather cooperates, said Taylor Damonte of Coastal Carolina University’s Clay Brittain Jr. Center for Resort Tourism, which tracks the local tourism industry.

That 50 percent occupancy level would be up from occupancy of 38 percent on Nov. 15-16, 42 percent Nov. 8-9 and 35 percent Nov. 1-2.

“It’s our last big weekend of the year,” Damonte said of the post Thanksgiving weekend. “It’s a major boost for the area.”

Celebrating Thanksgiving at the beach has become a tradition for some families, and some visitors are lured by the Black Friday shopping and the holiday shows at live theaters.

Granted, it’s a good crowd, but far from those seen during the peak summer tourism period.

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