Summer tourist season had ups and downs

The Labor Day holiday is just a couple of days away, but it will be a strong ending to an up and down summer, according to Taylor Damonte from the Brittain Center for Resort Tourism.

"Occupancy last weekend was over 70 percent and it was over 70 percent during the middle of the week as well. That compares to the previous year during that week we were only 43 percent occupied," he said.

The entire season, though, he said, has been a roller coaster ride. On the whole, it was on par with numbers from the 2011 season but down from summer 2010.

Bob Detwiller owns Hawaiian Rumble Mini Golf in North Myrtle Beach. He blames the excessive rain this summer on his numbers.

"It's been kind of a weird summer, it's been up and down," he added.

Condos are doing the best overall, Damonte said, because consumers went for more value from lodging to leisure. Despite that, lodging prices are on the rise across the board. On average they are up between 4 and 6 percent.

The success for local businesses to get tourists to also spend money on their attraction, seems to be some kind of deal.

"We've been doing a lot of word of mouth. We also started having shows a Froggy Bottoms at Broadway at the Beach, and if someone goes to that they get a discount to a second show," said Bobbei Say, a director with Carolina Improv Company.

Say credits that to the increases they have seen in crowds at the theatre.

"This year we have seen an 8 percent increase of our attendance versus last summer. And then 2010 was our very first summer. So from 2010 to 2011 we saw a 10 percent increase. So being open for almost 3 years we're up almost 18 percent in our attendance."

AAA predicts 33 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more during the Labor Day holiday weekend. That's up from 32 point one million travelers from last year.