2010 Grand Strand tourism funding may be less than 2009

Myrtle Beach, SC - By Trey Paul - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – This year's state budget gave $6 million of the $5 billion total to fund tourism marketing, with the state matching $1 of every $2 spent privately.

Historically, the Grand Strand received half of what's allocated, being allocated $5 million in 2009. But 2010 could mean only $3 million for the Myrtle Beach area.

"We're hoping to get $3 million of that $6 million, however there is some doubt as to whether that full $6 million will make it into the final budget," said Ryan Swaim, manager of Dunes Realty and who also sits on the marketing council of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.

Some of the latest research from the Chamber shows that for every $1 spent on promoting the area's beaches, 77 cents goes back into the economy. So what does that mean for you?

"Everyone $1 that comes back into our area in the form of tourist dollars means fewer dollars paid in property taxes to support schools, road construction, anything our government does," Swaim explained.

It means even more to Ken Grantham, who works at the Days Inn in Surfside Beach.

"This area needs all the money it can get to go to advertising," he said.

Swaim says the majority of state funding goes to online marketing out of state, but thanks to the penny sales tax, the city's marketing efforts remain on television in 70 different markets, as well as online.

"We could be losing out to other parts of the country if we don't advertise properly," Grantham said.

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