Despite a shaky economy and the specter of higher gas prices, tourism is expected to continue its solid improvement this year in the Carolinas, where it means almost $39 billion to the two states’ economies.
“We’re in the midst of a slow-motion recovery, but tourism remains a bright spot,” said Brad Dean, president and CEO of the chamber of commerce in Myrtle Beach, the oceanfront town that attracts about 14 million visitors a year.
South Carolina’s former parks and tourism director agreed.
“I think we’re on a solid track of recovery,” said Chad Prosser, who last week left the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism after eight years directing the agency that helps promote the state’s $18.4 billion tourism industry.
“We saw a large boost during the summer season last year, and that was a lot of pent-up demand – a return to travel for people who had maybe cut back a lot during the recession,” he said.