LAURINBURG — There might not be any large Labor Day celebrations happening in the area, but the holiday weekend — which signals the unofficial end of summer — is expected to bring in plenty of tourism money.
According to AAA Carolinas, there are more than 1,000,000 North Carolinians estimated to be traveling 50 miles or more from home during the upcoming holiday weekend. Since Laurinburg is conveniently located right off of U.S. 74, those traveling through the area will help the local economy.
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“While there isn’t anything going on from a tourism standpoint, we do expect heavy traffic coming off 74,” said Scotland County Tourism Development Authority Director Cory Hughes. “Whether it be to stop and get food or gas before getting back on the road to the beach, we expect to have a good amount of people stopping.”
Besides the tourist stopping on the way to the beach, Hughes said that this holiday is typically used for family reunions — so the local hotels are getting business as well.
“The reason we have so many billboards on 74 is that it’s a busy corridor for us,” Hughes said. “From a tourism standpoint, it’s important to get people to stop in to bring money into the community.”
For those traveling, AAA also reports that gas prices are expected to stay flat throughout the country. The current nationwide average according to AAA is $2.838 while North Carolina has an average of $2.661. Scotland County is currently averaging $2.667.
Meanwhile, South Carolina continues to keep low gas prices with a state average of $2.537. Horry County, which houses Myrtle Beach, has the fifth-lowest prices in the state at $2.494.
There could be some spike in the gas prices, though they’re expected to go down after the weekend. Despite staying average, and being 2 cents cheaper than a month ago, the prices are 48 cents more than 2017 and are at the highest point for the holiday since 2014.
The Labor Day holiday weekend is generally defined as Thursday to Monday and the holiday marks the end of the “100 deadliest days,” a name given due to the higher number of car crashes and deaths than any other time of year.
Last year there were more than 1,800 injuries due to wrecks and 23 deaths in the state alone. Law enforcement will also be out this weekend as it marks the end of the “Booze It and Lose It” campaign.
AAA Carolinas’ website is reminding drivers to use caution and good judgment while traveling over the weekend in order to have a safe and happy holiday.