Myrtle Beach parking meters show booming tourism after COVID-19

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — (AP) — It may just be loose change, but parking meters are helping to show how tourism is booming along South Carolina’s most popular beach after COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were lifted.

Myrtle Beach collected as much in parking fees in May as they do in a typical June, Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Office Executive Director Brian Schmitt told The Post and Courier of Charleston.

“2021 has just been nuts,” Schmitt said. “In March, we did April numbers. In April, we did May numbers ... If that trend continues, then we hit June with July numbers, which July is typically our best month our $360,000 month, we expect to maybe see that continue.”

The city no longer just collects coins out of meters. There are parking lot terminals that take debit and credit cards and a mobile app called ParkMobile that allows drivers to stop their cars and pay with a click on their smart phone, officials said.

More traditional ways of measuring tourism are also up in Myrtle Beach. The Chamber of Commerce said hotel occupancy rates are up this summer compared to 2019.

They don’t use 2020 numbers to compare because of COVID-19 restrictions.

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