The Myrtle Beach City Council approved first reading of the 1 percent tourism fee, and with a second reading at the next meeting the new fee could take effect in August.
Consider This: The Myrtle Beach leaders did the right thing approving this plan that will be critical to drive the marketing efforts for the region. Plus, the city will roll back the majority of property taxes beginning in year three.
If I were a realtor I would love to tell potential buyers that their city property taxes will be next to nothing if they purchase their home within in the city limits of Myrtle Beach. What a nice marketing tool for the realty business.
And tourism-based businesses across the Grand Strand can thank Myrtle Beach for the support because the marketing will not just promote Myrtle Beach proper, but the entire region. That's why it is important that other cities in Horry County push to enact the fee in their communities. And wouldn't it have been nice if the County had not requested to be removed from the legislation? The increased tourism funding would have been a huge plus, but just as important the property tax relief would have been a welcome benefit for area residents.
The next goal should be to work together to speak with one voice in recruiting these potential visitors. The one thing that seems to be missing from our area that has proved vital for other tourist-based communities is a long range vision for the entire region. Right now it seems the areas that make up the Grand Strand do their own thing in terms of marketing. We need to speak with a singular voice and a singular message. Everyone, and every community, will benefit if we grow the entire pool of visitors.
The City of Myrtle Beach took the first step in helping to provide the funding to make that happen. Let's hope the other cities follow suit as soon as possible.