MBAHA Award Winners

The Myrtle Beach Area Hospitality Association presented awards to outstanding employees Thursday at its annual meeting at the Myrtle Beach Sheraton

Tourism is back!

That’s the message Duane Parrish, director of the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism had for members of the Myrtle Beach Area Hospitality Association.

The MBAHA held its annual meeting Thursday at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach.

“If you had asked me at the beginning of the year how I thought 2021 would be, I thought it would be somewhat of a catchup year but nowhere close to being back to normal,” said Parrish. “This may be a record year for tourism. “

Two years ago, South Carolina tourism set new records, but the COVID-19 pandemic brought everything to a screeching halt in 2020.

The news Parrish shared with the local hospitality industry showed a complete reversal of fortune.

Not only has tourism rebounded from the pandemic, it’s on track to set new records and could surpass 2019 numbers by 8% or more, said Parrish.

“We have experienced cabin fever like I have never seen before and I don’t know if we will ever eve see it again,” Parrish Said.

The PRT director credited several factors for the remarkable turnaround.

He said the state offers many outdoor venues for tourism such as golf, the beaches and the state park system.

In addition, South Carolina’s top tourism destinations are accessible by car, unlike other popular destinations such as Hawaii and Miami, which depend heavily upon air transportation.

And, he said the pent-up demand helped Myrtle Beach and other areas of the state recover quickly.

At Thursday’s meeting, the MBAHA presented awards to outstanding members of the hospitality industry.

Tiffany Davis of Ocean 22 by Hilton Grand Vacations was named Hotelier of the Year.

Chef of the Year honors went to Robin Hinton of Lulu’s North Myrtle Beach.

The Restauranteur of the Year was awarded to Steve Carr of Dave & Busters.

Heart of the House employees of the year were Sammy Parnell of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Rosa Fonseca of Sheraton Myrtle Beach and Matt Hottenstein of Litchfield Beach & Golf Resort.

Front Line employees of the year were Rondle Sumpter of Caribbean Resort & Villas, Julia Flannery of Double Tree Resort by Hilton Myrtle Beach Oceanfront and Greg Loftis of North Beach Resort & Villas.

The Hospitality Partner of the Year award went to the staff of Myrtle Beach National Golf Club.

The Game Changer award was presented to Alberto Semidei of Sheraton Myrtle Beach.

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(1) comment

jde

It's great that they are excited about tourism being back. Why don't they get excited about making sure the locals are taken care of instead. Or is that too much to ask for?

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