- Associated Press - Thursday, April 17, 2014

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) - This Easter weekend should be a strong one for tourism along the Grand Strand, the heart of South Carolina’s $18 billion tourism industry.

The lodging update released Thursday by the Brittain Center for Resort Tourism at Coastal Carolina University forecasts that occupancy will run about 93 percent Thursday and Friday nights. That is based on a sample of lodgings in Horry and Georgetown counties.

And reservations indicate almost 80 percent occupancy for next week. Researchers say that’s an increase of almost 92 percent over the same week a year ago. But the Passover and Easter holidays were earlier last year.

AAA Carolinas reports that, while gas prices have increased 36 cents per gallon since Christmas, they are still about a penny a gallon less than last Easter.

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