A family makes their way to the beach at Springmaid Pier on Tuesday. July 19, 2022.

A family makes their way to the beach at Springmaid Pier on Tuesday. July 19, 2022.


With some economists warning about a recession this year, Myrtle Beach’s main industry, tourism, could take a hit.

Senior economist Geoff Lacher of Tourism Economics said he was hopeful that the Myrtle Beach tourism industry would weather a recession, in a presentation hosted recently by the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Here are three predictions on how a possible 2023 recession could affect tourism in the Myrtle Beach area.

  1. A recession would hurt high and low end lodgings especially. An expected 2023 downturn would be milder than the 2008 and 2020 recessions, despite high interest rates and inflation. In a recession, Lacher said, the cheapest and most expensive hotels are most impacted. This is because low-income individuals feel the biggest effects of an economic downturn and fewer business travelers are sent to stay at luxury hotels.
  2. Myrtle Beach’s busy tourist seasons in the last two years could foretell a calmer 2023. “There’s definitely the possibility for some downside if the recession does hit harder,” Lacher said. “If people have kind of last year or the last two years, they’ve kind of done rural beachy type vacations, maybe next year they want to go to New York City or something a little different.” Tourism Economics expects tourism industry growth in Myrtle Beach to continue to slow down after a record breaking 2021 season.
  3. Travelers say they still want to travel. October 2022 saw some of the highest numbers post-pandemic of people expecting to travel in the next six months, according to a Longwoods International survey.

Travel is more expensive now. Last month, eating out in the U.S. was on average 8% more expensive and transportation was 9% higher than the same time in 2021, according to the U.S. Travel Association’s Travel Price Index. In addition, with high prices for rent and food, consumers have less funds to put towards tourism.

Still, Karen Riodan, executive director of the Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, recently expressed optimism about Myrtle Beach for the near future, particularly compared to other communities.

“We’re pleased to report that indicators show that our economy remains stable versus other communities,” Riodan said.

Tourism Economics expects that tourist development taxes will bring in $48.4 million in 2023, up 12% from last year. This transfers to direct savings on property taxes for Myrtle Beach homeowners.

More visitors to Myrtle Beach doesn’t necessarily mean more crime. Although 1 million more people visited Myrtle Beach in 2021 than 2017 ( 20.6 million versus 19.6 million), property and violent crime dropped by almost a quarter in the same time frame.

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Eleanor Nash is the Service Journalism Reporter at the Sun News. She answers the burning questions of Horry County residents.


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