- Associated Press - Monday, September 22, 2014

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) - The fall tourism season is off to strong start on South Carolina’s Grand Strand, the heart of the state’s $18 billion tourism industry.

Researchers at Coastal Carolina University report occupancy in the Myrtle Beach area was 88 percent for the weekend of Sept. 6-7, the first weekend after Labor Day. That’s about 9 percent more than the same weekend last year.

The following weekend, occupancy was up more than five percent compared to a year ago.

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce has started an almost $3 million fall advertising campaign promoting what it calls 60 more days of summer.

Tourism experts tell The Sun News of Myrtle Beach that the strong start to the fall season is probably due to warm temperatures, cheaper gas and lower hotel rates.

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