Travel industry professionals from across the United States celebrated National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) May 7-13, 2023. Led by the U.S. Travel Association, the week was an opportunity to promote the value tourism provides to the economy.
Along the Grand Strand, tourism is the region's lifeblood, according to officials with the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce (MBACC) and Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB).
“Tourism is not only the driving force of our economy, providing significant impact to our local and statewide tax base, but the leisure and hospitality amenities the region offers provide us residents with an unmatched quality of life. This week is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the advantages that tourism brings us all,” said MBACC and CVB President and CEO Karen Riordan.
During NTTW, tourism was celebrated across the Grand Strand through these six big events:
- On May 8, members of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber and CVB traveled to Columbia, S.C., to meet with tourism industry leaders from across the state as Gov. Henry McMaster declared May 7-13 Travel and Tourism Week in South Carolina.“Our industry offers opportunities for so many career paths, so it’s not all that surprising that one in 10 jobs in South Carolina support tourism,” said Duane Parrish, director of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism (SCPRT). “We’re a powerful driver of economic progress, historical preservation, and even conservation.”
- On May 9, TripAdvisor released its list of “Top 10 Most Searched Summer Destinations” with Myrtle Beach placing second overall behind Orlando and ranking as the top beach destination. Company officials made the announcement from Myrtle Beach’s Island Vista Resort where they gave satellite interviews to national TV markets discussing the appeal of The Beach.
- The excitement continued on May 10 when SCPRT Director Duane Parrish joined MBACC and CVB staff and members, as well as city and county leaders at the Dunes Golf and Beach Club in Myrtle Beach to announce the Myrtle Beach Classic, a new golf tournament on the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup to run 2024 through 2027. The tournament is expected to have a multimillion-dollar impact on the local economy each year.
- Travel industry professionals from across the Grand Strand gathered at Marina Inn at Grande Dunes in Myrtle Beach on May 11 where chamber and CVB staff held their annual Visit Myrtle Beach NTTW Update. During the event, experts at Google Travel Team, TripAdvisor, MMGY and others revealed travel insights and emerging trends. “The event allowed us to share ideas on how our destination can continue to be a leader in U.S. travel and provide world-class hospitality,” said Visit Myrtle Beach’s Chief Marketing Officer Stuart Butler. Discussions included the emergence of customized trip planning tools and AI (artificial intelligence), sustainable travel practices like EV (electronic vehicle) infrastructure, and accessibility offerings that provide travel services for those with special abilities.
- Also on May 11, officials with the Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR) announced April 2023 set a new record for the airport thanks to another busy spring travel season. MYR Director of Airports Judi Olmstead noted that the region “is a top destination for tourism in the U.S. and our continued growth patterns help demonstrate that the Grand Strand is no longer a 'summer only’ destination.
- The week wrapped up on May 12 when the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber and CVB unveiled the latest tool for the meetings, conventions and sport events industry. Visit Myrtle Beach’s 2023 Group Inspiration Guide provides 58 pages of destination resources designed specifically for group travel, sports events and meeting planners. The free guide is available by request at VisitMyrtleBeach.com or at the Myrtle Beach Visitors Center at 1200 N. Oak Street in Myrtle Beach.