MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — The latest data from the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce (MBACC) shows a drop in occupancy rates in April 2022 versus April 2021.
The CEO and President of the MBACC, Karen Riordan, isn’t worried about the drop of 23%. She said the chamber is comparing this years data to 2019. April 2022 shows a six-percentage point drop compared to April 2019.
“We’re seeing it trend sort of exactly on the same lines as 2019 so that’s a cause of relief and satisfaction for our business owners,” Riordan said.
Occupancy now are six percentage points lower than they were in 2019. Rates are compared to 2019 because 2020 and 2021 were abnormal because of the pandemic. Many people were choosing the Grand Strand as an alternative to their normal vacations.
“We got sort of a surplus of people coming to the grand strand that would otherwise have different patterns in 2019 and 2018 where maybe they would have gone to Orlando with their family,” Riordan said.
Another change that happened in 2020 and 2021 was closing of international borders. The students in the international exchange program weren’t able to come to Myrtle Beach the past two years. Now, they are back and staying in local hotels.
“We have foreign students coming in now, we coulden’t have J1 visa students coming in,” said Jack Narvel, a local.
A man who lives in Lake City, Smooth Hammood, said he’s been coming to Myrtle Beach for decades and he doesn’t plan on stopping. He said he enjoys all that the area has to offer.
“It was a beautiful place then and matter of fact its more beautiful now,” Hammood said. “I mean just turn the camera around and look at the beauty, you know, nice people, no problems, look at this beautiful weather we’re having.”
Riordan, Hammood and Narvel believe occupancy rates will rise in the future.