OPINION: A bold marketing strategy has paid off for tourism | Opinion

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Long queues at restaurants, crowded hotel car parks and heavy traffic quietly bear witness to the resurgence of tourism along the Grand Strand.

Pent-up demand and cabin fever caused by the pandemic are driving much of the return.

But don’t overlook the efforts of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and the SC Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.

While some popular tourist destinations have all but rolled up their sidewalks and cut their marketing budgets, the Myrtle Beach Chamber and State PRT have invested more dollars in marketing during the pandemic.

These efforts have paid off.

Earlier this week, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Karen Riodan couldn’t help but smile as she reported that tourism was booming along Grand Strand and that the best was yet to come.

“There are many different reasons for the recovery, but as soon as we saw that our marketing was attracting more visitors to the beach, we put our foot on the accelerator and did not let go,” he said. she stated. “We never stopped marketing, even in 2020. Other destinations just curled up and shut up to preserve their funds.”

Riodan and EPR Director Duane Parrish took the opportunity to let people know that South Carolina beaches were still open for business.

Thanks to these efforts, the Grand Strand has rebounded much more vigorously than many competing tourist destinations.

Not all of the news shared by Riodan was good. Labor shortages continue to pose challenges to the tourism industry.

However, Riodan said the chamber was trying to contact an underutilized source…military veterans.

She said the Grand Strand has the highest concentration of veterans in the state.

“We hope to build on that,” Riordan said. “Many are retired, but some may want to go out and work part-time.”

The MBACC chairman also reiterated his support for I-73, even though the $300 million that Governor Henry McMaster had requested was not included in the SCSenate-approved state budget.

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