Tourism helps build a better Grand Strand.

Tourism is the largest industry sector in the Grand Strand and is critical to the economies of the 14 communities in the Myrtle Beach area. Visitors support businesses, jobs and enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors alike. The research presented below on tourism's impact on our community is updated annually. For more information and figures on how Tourism Works for The Grand Strand, contact us by clicking below.

The Impact of Travel

A look at how tourism effects your quality of life

WORKFORCE

24%

OF JOBS ARE HOSPITALITY-BASED

Of the current labor force in Horry County 37,238 out of 157,162 (or 24 percent) are hospitality industry workers.

TAXES

66%

TAXES PAID BY VISITORS

According to Visa, visitors account for more than half — 66 percent — of all sales tax revenue collected in Horry County.

EDUCATION

SALES TAX FOR SCHOOLS

A penny sales tax is collected in Horry County and funded mostly by visitors. This money is used to support local schools and colleges.

SPENDING

24:1

RETURN ON INVESTMENT

For every $1 invested in tourism-related advertising campaigns on the Grand Strand, $24 in local taxes is generated and $180 in direct visitor spending.

Tourism Statistics

Interesting facts about the tourism industry along the Grand Strand:

60

MILES OF BEACHES

We have 60 miles of beaches and 14 unique communities that make up the area known as The Grand Strand. That includes
6 distinct beaches & two gorgeous state parks!

90+

GOLF COURSES

The Grand Strand has more than 90 golf courses, 35 mini golf course, and hosts more than 2.5 million rounds played per year. That's why we're known as the "Golf Capital of the World."

2,000

RESTAURANTS

The Myrtle Beach area has more than 2,000 restaurants with top-notch cuisine from all over the world. You could eat out once a week for 34 years and never go to the same restaurant twice!

157,000

ROOM UNITS

The Grand Strand has more than 157,000 accommodation units spread out across 425 hotels, plus plenty of resorts, condos and villas. That's more rooms than Las Vegas!

TOURISM WORKS

FOR LOCAL RESIDENTS

Tourism continues to foster significant economic benefit for the Myrtle Beach area. We use a multitude of sources and independent reports to compile an overview of the impact of tourism of the entire Grand Strand region, including 14 communities within Horry and Georgetown Counties.

While some data highlights specific areas of the Grand Strand, we strive to provide a broad perspective of how tourism impacts the entire region. Here’s a look at some of the most recent stats:

Visitation & spending

  • According to the most recent industry research, 17.2 million visitors spent $11.1 billion in the Myrtle Beach area in 2021.
  • The $11.1 billion in visitor spending in 2021 was up from $7.3 billion in 2020 — a 49 percent increase year over year. (source: DK Shifflet Visitor Volume and Spending Study). 

Jobs

  • Coastal Carolina University (CCU) estimates tourism accounts for $2.2 billion in labor impact supporting more than 80,000 jobs — both direct and indirect tourism jobs — throughout the Grand Strand.
  • CCU economists estimate that 80 percent of local tourism jobs are year-round, full-time.

Tax Revenue

  • Horry County Hospitality Fee generated approximately $35.7 million in tax collections in 2021, up from $9.7 million in 2020. (source: Horry County Government).
  • Horry County generated more than $31.7 million in accommodations taxes in 2021 (approximately 30% of the state’s total accommodations tax collections), up from $16.8 million in 2020. (source: S.C. Department of Revenue).

Marketing Impact

  • Visit Myrtle Beach marketing programs drove a $204 to $1 return on investment in 2021. For every $1 invested in the 2021 Myrtle Beach advertising campaign generated $180 in direct visitor spending and $24 in taxes. (source: Longwoods International Myrtle Beach ROI Study)
  • The visitor spending influenced by Visit Myrtle Beach generated $145 million in state and local tax revenue in 2019 and supported $1 billion in business sales. (source: Tourism Economics’ Visit Myrtle Beach Impact Study)

Industry Resources

Tourism Works For The Grand Strand uses a multitude of sources and independent reports to compile a broad view of the impact of tourism across the entire Grand Strand area. For more insight, check out these resources:

MORE INDUSTRY RESEARCH

TOURISM WORKS

FOR SOUTH CAROLINIANS

A recent study prepared for the South Carolina Parks Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT) agency by the United States Travel Association revealed that domestic travel accounted for a direct economic impact of more than $15.1 billion and directly supported 133,500 jobs in 2019. Key findings from that study include:

  • Domestic travel-supported employees in South Carolina earned close to $2.9 billion in payroll income during 2019. This represented a 6.1 percent increase from 2018.
  • In 2019, every $113,417 spent by domestic travelers in South Carolina supported one job.
  • Domestic traveler spending in South Carolina directly generated $2.2 billion in tax revenue for federal, state, and local governments in 2019, up 5.8 percent from 2018.
  • Horry County received $4.8 billion in domestic travel expenditures to lead all of South Carolina’s 46 counties.
  • Seventeen of South Carolina’s 46 counties received over $100 million in domestic travel expenditures in 2019.
  • Sixteen counties in South Carolina indicated one thousand or more jobs were directly supported by domestic travelers during 2019.
READ THE FULL STUDY

TOURISM WORKS

FOR EVERYONE IN THE U.S.

National tourism is one of the world’s largest industries, employing millions worldwide. The United States Travel Association (USTA) estimates that in 2019 domestic and international leisure and business travelers accounted for $2.6 trillion in economic output and supported more than 15.8 million American jobs.

One out of 10 U.S. jobs depend on travel and tourism. For more information on USTA and its economic impact study click below.

READ THE FULL STUDY

Marketing The Destination

Dependent on a robust tourism industry, local hospitality businesses turn to the Myrtle Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau — also known as Visit Myrtle Beach — to promote The Beach to leisure travelers, groups, meetings, conferences and trade shows, and sporting events.

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber and CVB is a nonprofit 501(c)6 organization. The CVB’s efforts are critical to support our region’s economy, businesses and employees working in the community, as well as residents that call the Grand Strand home.

Recognized with U.S. Travel Association’s Destiny award in 2021, the CVB used innovative marketing techniques to keep The Beach top-of-mind despite travel declines. New data from the S.C. Dept. of Parks, Recreation and Tourism shows that states like S.C. that were willing to invest marketing dollars sooner recovered quicker.

Promoting The Beach has paid off in recent years with strong visitor spending, tax revenues and economic impact. In turn, local employers are reinvesting back into their businesses more than ever.

Tax revenues help fund infrastructure, education, community services, public safety and more. Property taxes are able to remain low, while job opportunities and quality of life for citizens are enhanced.