Myrtle Beach, a go-to tourist destination, will be receiving another economic boost with Elite Airways adding three additional flights at Myrtle Beach International airport. The airline will add new flights to New York and Virginia before the spring tourism season begins.
Myrtle Beach’s tourism industry generated $7 billion in 2016, fueling 83,000 jobs and bringing 17 million people to the area annually.
The area accounts for 37% of tourism-related revenue, which totals $19 billion. Annual income generated from tourism in Myrtle Beach was $2.2 billion and generates $485 million in taxes to the local and state economies.
Elite Airways will add tours to Albany International Airport in New York, Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport in Virginia and Westchester County Airport in New York.
The airline started operations in Myrtle Beach in 2016, with flights to Long Island McArthur Airport.
The new flights will run twice per week and begin in April. One-way tickets to Virginia will cost $129 with flights to New York costing passengers $199 each. The company’s Vice President, David Down, claims that golf bags will fly free.
Dow claims that the company will keep a close eye on the additional flights and watch how demand grows. He claims that this is just the start of the flights the company will add. The company forecasts that demand will remain strong for flights to New York and Virginia.
Dow claims that more flight times will be added to Virginia and New York flights as demand grows.
He further hinted that Elite Airways plans to add two additional destinations to their current Myrtle Beach flights, with one in the northeast and another in the Midwest.
The increase in direct flights into Myrtle Beach are expected to add demand for local rentals. Airbnb lists rental options for beach houses, Brigadune condos and villas.
Elite’s director of air service and business development, Kirk Lovell claims that the airport serves 38 markets, with more nonstop flights than any other airport in the state. Myrtle Beach International hit over one million passengers in under a year in November, hitting a milestone for the airport.
Lovell claims that more people are visiting Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand.
He claims that the airport projects a 20% increase in passengers this coming spring. Golf is a major draw to the area, with peak golf season n being in April. The additional flights and free golf bag offer is expected to increase tourism in the area.
Elite Airways is a pet-friendly airline that offers beverages and snacks during flights.
Chamber of Commerce members claim that a top priority is to increase fall and spring tourism in Myrtle Beach. The city has a goal of 20 million visitors annually by 2020. The area estimates that the number of tourists that visited in 2017 hit 18 million.
Todd Setzer, former Chamber of Commerce board chairman claims that tourists come back a second and third time. Some tourists like the area so much that they become residents in Myrtle Beach.
Tourism is responsible for helping Myrtle Beach provide revenue to schools, hospitals, infrastructure, natural resource protection and housing.