MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) We recently complimented area leaders for their efforts to focus on sports tourism; however, there is one area where we come up short in the sports tourism world: Swimming
Consider This: You would think a beach destination would be the perfect spot to host these meets, but the size of area facilities will not support a major event.
Myrtle Beach leaders say they won't invest in an Olympic caliber facility because the ongoing operational costs are too expensive. That seems short sighted considering the visibility and tourism revenue the region would receive by hosting a qualifying meet. You need look no further than the unprecedented publicity created by Michael Phelps in the 2008 Summer Olympics for proof that swimming is big business.
North Myrtle Beach has a wonderful aquatics center, but the facility is too small to host a major event. Perhaps the city leaders of North Myrtle Beach will see the value in recruiting these swim events and include a natatorium in their future sports tourism plans.
We're a beach destination; I can't think of a location better suited to take advantage of the big business of swimming.