Grand Strand looks forward to 2013 tourism season

While 2013 has just begun


businesses are already excited about the tourism season.

The State Tourism Department predicts the $15 billion industry may return to pre-recession levels this year.

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce hopes to see those numbers as well.

"So those months that typically fall between the heavy summer season we'll be promoting that time of year more than we ever have," said spokeswoman Nora Hembree Battle.

The Chamber is looking towards new avenues to make sure the Grand Strand becomes a year-round destination.

"We are marketing for the first time more heavily the wedding market, so both in terms of publicity, advertising you'll see more wedding messaging. Come get married in Myrtle Beach," said Battle.

But the Chamber is also looking to the skies.

"We'll see a lot of our marketing efforts in the cities where we have non


stop air service," said Battle.

And business owners are excited.

"Oh I think it's going to be a great year!" said Boardwalk Coffee House owner Deann Sarver.

South Carolina leads the nation in revenue per available room according to the state