The unseasonably warm winter in the Pee Dee and Grand Strand makes the wait for summer seem that much shorter. But with gas prices spiking, summer could mean less trips to the beach and fewer vacations for many American families.
As director of South Carolina Parks, Recreation and Tourism for eight years, I closely monitored the impact of gas prices on visitor spending. Even when families are able to take their cherished summer beach vacation, the bite that higher gas prices takes from their wallets curtails spending on restaurants, attractions and souvenirs, and often shortens their trip.
In addition to the direct impact on tourism, higher gas prices also ripple through the economy increasing the costs for businesses, including our critical distribution centers in the area. These higher costs are passed through to cash-strapped consumers in the form of higher prices.