Business is booming in Beaufort, thanks to a record-breaking tourist season.
“So it started off with a bang in January, February we had some strong months, but it has carried into the spring and into the summer. May, June, and July have had record numbers for us,” says Rob Wells with the Beaufort Chamber of Commerce.
For businesses like the Cuthbert House Inn, they’re thrilled with the upswing in visitors.
“We’re up 20-percent over last year,which was a very good year, sop we couldn’t be happier,” says owner, Jeff Thomas.
Thomas says he’s never seen anything like this season.
“This year we had the best summer that we ever had, we probably did 30-40 percent better in July than any other July. I have no idea, it was some of the worst weather we’ve ever had. It was hot, humid, it was August in June and July, but we got a lot of people,” Thomas says.
Over at the Chamber of Commerce, they have seen this growth first-hand and they attribute the growth to a number of things including intense marketing, an increase in consumer confidence, and the fact that Beaufort has been featured in numerous magazines and travel lists.
“We’ve seen growth of 9-percent in occupancy, the revenue goals are up 13-percent, which is very good for not only us in the tourism sector, but also for our local municipalities in their tax revenues, in a struggling budget season and for the county as they increase revenues as well,” Wells said.
For Thomas, he says its more about people finally turning their “staycations” into vacations again.
“Well, I think there’s a lot of reasons, I think people are traveling more, this thing about people wanting to spend money on an experience instead of stuff, we see that.”