South Carolina Tourism Officials Mull Impact of North’s Brutal Winter

Feb 22, 2014 4:00 am

Skift Take

Northern schools may stay open later to make up for snow days leading to a slow season start, but officials hope northerners’ longing for the sun will lead to a stronger season overall.

— Samantha Shankman

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Bruce Smith  / AP Photo

In this May 22, 2013 file photo, vacationers walk along the boardwalk in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Bruce Smith / AP Photo

Tourism officials are concerned that this year’s cold, snowy winter in the north could affect spring tourism in the Myrtle Beach area.

The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reports the season could be delayed while schools in northern and Midwestern states have to add snow makeup days.

Vickie Carmody of the PirateLand Family Camping Resort said the resort has not had any cancellations but some people have changed their reservations until later in the season.

The tourism industry has boosted advertising in cold-weather states.

“We look at the bad weather as a marketing opportunity and utilize several marketing tactics, including weather-triggered ads in key markets of opportunity,” said Brad Dean, president of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. “When you’re in Ohio staring out your living room window at several feet of snow, ice and sludge, there’s no better message than a friendly invitation to visit the warmth and sunshine of the Myrtle Beach area.”

Tourism officials are watching to see if school districts that have been hit hard by the winter weather forgive snow days or make them up by tacking them onto the end of the school year.

“It may be a little too soon to tell how we’ll be affected by this weather,” Carmody said.

Dean said even if the weather affects the start of the season, the chamber will advertise to boost early summer traffic.

“We anticipate a trend of later school closings, which could soften June business, but won’t materially impact our overall summer volumes,” he said in an email to the newspaper.

“Generally, during a really hard winter we find our guests are more motivated to get to the beach, so there may be a positive effect,” Carmody said.

Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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