Mon, 29 Aug 2011 12:52:16 GMT — MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) -- Hotel and attraction operators in the Myrtle Beach area hope visitors will return for Labor Day, after Hurricane Irene moved by South Carolina last week. Officials say many people canceled reservations as Irene threatened the East Coast. The area also suffered from the cancellation of flights from New York, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and Atlantic City, N.J. Buddy Lindsay with the Hampton Inn & Suites Oceanfront in Myrtle Beach says last weekend's occupancy rate was the worst since the hotel opened in 2000. Lindsay says only 36 percent of the rooms were filled. Read more Irene: Wet, deadly and expensive, but no monster SC Guard sends unit to Virginia to help with Irene Operating without an emergency plan during hurricane season is risky business Gas prices likely going up as Hurricane Irene nears Coastal surfers stoked for storm waves Officials put the gondolas back on the SkyWheel and had it operating Saturday night, but there were not many people to enjoy the 200-foot tall ride. The 42 gondolas had been removed Thursday as the storm approached.Irene was the first hurricane to make landfall in the continental United States since 2008, and came almost six years to the day after Katrina ravaged New Orleans on Aug. 29, 2005.
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