Short-term rentals supported 2,587 jobs and generated $200.7 million in economic activity in Horry County in 2013, according to a study by the Short Term Rental Advocacy Center.
But local sources say the real number is actually much much larger.
Brad Dean, CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, said that tourists in short-term rentals are about one-fourth of the Grand Strand’s $6.3 billion tourist industry, accounting for all spending by visitors.
That means that the impact of those in short-term rentals – condos, cottages and houses – bring roughly $1.5 billion to area businesses in the course of a year.
Dean’s numbers included short-term rentals in Horry County and along the Waccamaw Neck in Georgetown County, and included an estimated 18,000 units.
If anything, he said, his numbers are conservative and may not account for all short-term rentals.
Tourists were responsible for the bulk of short-term rentals, according to the advocacy center study, and they spent $56.3 million on lodging as well as other financial outlays for food, transportation, retail shopping and arts, entertainment and recreation activities.
Again, that number would be much higher when considering all the area’s short-term rental units.
The advocacy center based its study on the short-term rental listings of Airbnb, HomeAway and FlipKey, which do not have listings of all the area’s short-term rental units.