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Benefits of I-73: Tourism Growth

Most major tourism destinations have access to interstate highways. In fact, the Myrtle Beach area is the nation's busiest vacation destination without interstate access.

Destination Interstate Highways
Orlando, FL I-4, Florida Turnpike
Virginia Beach, VA I-64 / I-264
Daytona Beach, FL I-4, I-95
Charleston, SC I-26 / I-526
Hilton Head, SC I-95
Savannah, GA I-16, I-516, I-95

Myrtle Beach Tourists Use Interstate 95

In surveys conducted at Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce welcome centers (2003-2006), 74% of visitors driving to the Myrtle Beach Area drove on I-95 during their trip. A connection between the interstate highway (i.e. I-95) and the coast of South Carolina will be welcomed by visitors already driving this region without interstate highways.

Tourist Travel Times

Travel time is a key determinant of tourism potential. Most travelers have a predetermined level of tolerance for drives at varying lengths. The % of tourists willing to drive (measured in hours) for a 3-4 day getaway or a 5-7 day vacation are shown below:

  3-4 day 5-7 day
Under 4 Hours 92% 98%
5-6 Hours 61% 91%
7 Hours 53% 83%
8 Hours 45% 64%
9 Hours 37% 59%
10 Hours 31% 48%
11 Hours 22% 43%
12 Hours 12% 32%
13 Hours 5% 28%
14 Hours 5% 21%
15+ Hours - 16%

As you can see from the above chart, a small difference in time can make a significant impact upon tourism. For e.g., the difference between 7-hour drive and 8-hour drive opens up the potential to attract +8% of weekend travelers and +19% for of 5-7 day travelers (Source: Equations Research; survey of likely travelers in Eastern United States).

Tourism Growth

Using data from Equations Research and the Myrtle Beach Area CVB, Chmura Economics & Analytics estimates Interstate 73 could generate a 7.1% increase in tourism when the interstate is completely built. This incremental expenditure will also have ripple economic impacts throughout South Carolina. Utilizing IMPLAN Pro, Chmura estimates an additional economic impact of $518.9 Million. The combined impact is $1.4 Billion with nearly 19,000 jobs created.

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