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, public services and enhance the quality of life for both residents and travelers. 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

Interesting facts about the tourism industry along the Grand Strand:

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.

66%

TAXES PAID BY VISITORS

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

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.

22:1

RETURN ON INVESTMENT

For every $1 invested in tourism-related advertising campaigns on the Grand Strand, $22 in local taxes is generated and $167 in direct spending.

60

MILES OF BEACHES

Enjoy 60 miles of beaches, including six distinct beaches & two gorgeous state parks, and explore 14 unique communities – all of which make up the area known as The Grand Strand.

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 on par with the room units of 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, 17.6 million visitors spent $11.95 billion in the Myrtle Beach area in 2022. (source: DK Shifflet Visitor Volume and Spending Study) 
  • The $11.95 billion in visitor spending in 2022 was up from $11.1 billion in 2021 — a 10.6 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 $56.5 million in tax collections in 2022, up from $35.7 million in 2021. (source: Horry County Government).
  • Horry County generated more than $31.7 million in accommodations taxes in 2022 (approximately 30% of the state’s total accommodations tax collections), up from $31.7 million in 2021. (source: S.C. Department of Revenue).

Marketing Impact

  • Visit Myrtle Beach marketing programs drove a $189 to $1 return on investment in 2021. For every $1 invested in the 2021 Myrtle Beach advertising campaign generated $167 in direct visitor spending and $22 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

Data collected by South Carolina Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT) agency reveals that the estimated annual economic impact of the tourism industry in the state is more than $29 billion with 1 and 10 people working in hospitality, supporting more than 200,000 jobs in 2023. What's more, tourism-related tax collections reduce the annual tax burden for every resident by nearly $1,000.

“Visitors are continuing to choose South Carolina,” said Gov. Henry McMaster during National Travel and Tourism Week, May 2024. “They plan their trips to relax on our beaches, dine in our world-class restaurants, stroll our safe city streets, and appreciate our unparalleled beauty. Our sincere hospitality is what keeps them coming back. It’s one of the many factors that made us the fastest-growing state in the country last year. As the tourism industry continues to grow, I commend the people who make South Carolina’s destinations and attractions the best in the world.”

SCPRT Director Duane Parrish, added, “Tourism helps us showcase what makes our communities, our traditions, and our people unique and vibrant, all while fueling jobs and attracting visitors and their out-of-state dollars. Our hospitality is world-renowned, and our travel and tourism workforce deserves enormous credit for their dedication and creativity, and for the profound impact the industry has on the Palmetto State.”

 

READ THE FULL STUDY

TOURISM WORKS

FOR EVERYONE IN THE U.S.

Tourism is one of the country's largest industries, according to the U.S. Travel Association (USTA). "Travel fuels every industry—our success is the nation’s success,” said USTA President and CEO Geoff Freeman in May 2024 during National Travel and Tourism Week.

According to USTA, in 2023, the travel industry contributed $2.8 trillion to the U.S. economy and supported 15 million jobs, generating $89 billion in federal, state, and local taxes.

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.

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