WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCBD) – The City of Walterboro prepared for an influx of visitors during the Alex Murdaugh murder trial, but the turnout in week one was smaller than expected.

“Right now, our visitors are mostly press. I mean, there’s not a lot of people in the courtroom other than press and we’re actually a little surprised about that because we thought with all of the hype for the trial there was a possibility we were going to have an overwhelming amount of viewers coming in to watch the trial and just be in the courtroom,” said Scott Grooms, the Director of Tourism and Downtown Development for the City of Walterboro.

According to Grooms, they blocked off around 900 parking spots to accommodate for the visitors, but he said most of the parking lots are empty.

While there aren’t as many onlookers as anticipated, Walterboro is still feeling the impact of the trial. Dozens of people from local, national and even international news outlets are in town to cover the story. Grooms said all of the hotels are filled.

Its expected more people will watch the trial when it comes to a close in the next few weeks. Grooms said the city is prepared for the crowds, if that is the case.

News 2 stopped by the South Carolina Artisans Center in Walterboro to see if more people have visited over the last few days. The center is home to art pieces created by artists all over South Carolina.

Executive Director David Smalls said the center usually attracts people who are travelling on I-95 and stop in Walterboro. This week, it is bringing in a new clientele.

“Mostly a few members of the press,” Smalls said. “Some international journalists that have kind of come in but also some people who have been travelling and heard Walterboro and Murdaugh and stopped.”

Grooms told News 2 Walterboro typically sees an estimated 75,000 visitors a year.