Researcher says even with a strong fall travel season, businesses might still suffer

The SkyWheel sits in front of hotels in downtown Myrtle Beach.
The SkyWheel sits in front of hotels in downtown Myrtle Beach.(WMBF News)
Updated: Sep. 13, 2020 at 1:04 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - With Labor Day Weekend in the rearview mirror, the fall tourism season is officially here.

Taylor Damonte, Director of the Clay Brittain Jr. Center for Resort Tourism at Coastal Carolina University, said the most unpredictable aspect of the fall travel season is usually the threats and potential impacts from hurricanes.

Due to COVID-19, more variables are making it harder for those in the hospitality industry to feel confident going into the upcoming season.

Damonte said after essentially two winter seasons, one during the typical winter season and one during the complete travel shutdowns, this fall is very important.

He added demand for travel in the area looks promising based on the number of reservations booked in advance.

Damonte also said even if travelers still book rooms and travel to the coast in the fall, businesses will still likely suffer in some ways since they might not have made enough money this summer to get them through the upcoming winter.

“With a summer season that was while it was above break even, it was not what we need in a summer season. This is our harvest season for tourism we have to put away enough hay or excuse me enough cash, to get through the next economic winter," said Damonte.

Damonte also said he thinks there might be a new market for travelers.

He explained that fall travelers typically consist of retired seniors and couples for weekend getaways, but those working remotely may also be likely to travel due to more flexibility in scheduling.

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