The Covid-19 pandemic certainly had a significant impact on our tourism businesses and overall visitation in 2020 & 2021, however the area remains resilient compared to other destinations across the U.S. The MBACVB has worked diligently throughout the pandemic to support our industry through the crisis while also positioning Myrtle Beach for a strong recovery. In fact, we led the nation in hotel revenue recovery in 2021, according studies by CoStar Group.
The positive impact of tourism on infrastructure and public services benefits everyone – residents, tourists and businesses. Tourists use much of the same infrastructure and services that residents use, including roads, airports, police/fire protection, medical services, etc., and a growing tourism industry requires adequate investment and maintenance of our local infrastructure and public services.
Tourism dollars help the area expand these investments, including those for publicly owned facilities like the Myrtle Beach Convention Center or the Myrtle Beach International Airport. As a result, tourism helps pay for infrastructure and services that everyone benefits from.
Most people associate tourism with hourly jobs in the service sector, and there’s no doubt that tourism is accountable for 80,000+ jobs locally. What’s often overlooked are the management jobs that are a part of the tourism industry. We see desk clerks and housekeepers, but don’t notice the managers, supervisors, accountants and marketers that work in a hotel or resort. We see waiters, bartenders and cooks but don’t notice the team of managers, chefs, accountants and supervisors that run a restaurant. We see flight attendants and counter attendants but don’t notice the pilots, auditors, engineers and other professionals that run airlines. While tourism does create hourly jobs, it also supports and sustains an overlooked corps of managers and other professionals that play an integral role.
A recent tourism report by DK Shifflet estimates tourism accounts for a $11 billion direct spending. Coastal Carolina University estimates tourism accounts for $2.2 billion in labor impact, and more than 80,000 jobs throughout our local community. The money invested from tourism circulates throughout our local economy several times over, providing an ongoing economic impact.
There’s no doubt the Grand Strand is fortunate to be home to exceptional amenities and attractions, most notably our beaches. And while most visitors who choose to vacation here rank the beach as the most popular draw, research confirms that the non-beach amenities — restaurants, attractions, golf courses, etc. — are what differentiates our destination and make it so popular. To build the appeal of the destination and effectively compete for visitors and tourism spending in our area, the non-beach amenities must be effectively marketed. Visitors who have never been to the Grand Strand are often surprised to learn just how much the area offers and securing a visit to our area instead of our competitor destinations is a priority for our marketing program.
Many businesses throughout the Grand Strand, such as retail stores and entertainment venues, enjoy a balance of customers that include both tourists and residents. Ultimately, these tourism-dependent businesses need other services, such as plumbers and bankers, which are supported, in part, by tourist dollars.
Tourism is a huge value-add for residents of the City of Myrtle Beach due to a tax credit owner-occupied residents receive through the City of Myrtle Beach Tourism Development Fee – or TDF. For the current 2022-23 fiscal year, the TDF provides a 67.5 percent credit toward city property taxes. For a home with an assessed value of $250,000, that’s a savings of $600 per year. City of Myrtle Beach property owners can calculate their potential savings here.