The Labor Day weekend along the Grand Strand wasnt as strong as the holiday weekend a year ago, according to tourism statistics.
Lodging occupancy for Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 -- the Friday and Saturday nights of the holiday weekend -- averaged 79.7 percent, down 3.2 occupancy points or 3.9 percent compared to the same weekend last year, according to Coastal Carolina Universitys Center for Resort Tourism.
But following the trend throughout the summer, guests that weekend paid more for a place to stay. The average daily rate was up 2.1 percent Labor Day weekend compared to the same weekend last year, according to the tourism center.
The week leading up to the holiday weekend was much busier than the same time last year. Lodging occupancy for the week, excluding the weekend, averaged 47.8 percent, up 7.4 occupancy points or 18.2 percent compared to the same period last year, according to the center.
Much of that mid-week business likely came from the Golf.com World Amateur Handicap Championship, which attracted about 3,100 golfers who played on 60 courses along the Grand Strand that week with the championship Aug. 31, the Friday of the Labor Day weekend.
Golfers and other beach visitors during that week also paid more for a place to stay than last year. The average daily rate for the mid-week period was up 3.1 percent compared to the same period last year, according to the tourism center.
Throughout the Carolinas, fewer travelers were expected to the hit road for the Labor Day weekend, in part because of skyrocketing gas prices as some refineries shut down with Hurricane Isaacs approach, according to AAA Carolinas. Gas prices that week had climbed about 35 cents from the previous month -- including an overnight spike of an average 8 cents leading up to the Labor Day weekend -- and were about 20 cents higher than Labor Day last year, according to AAA Carolinas.
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