Businesses in NMB charging visitors an extra dollar

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) More businesses in North Myrtle Beach are jumping on board with the additional $1 promotional fee for Grand Strand visitors. The push is part of the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce's "Building North Myrtle Beach" campaign.

It tacks on a one dollar a night per unit voluntary fee. Right now there are about 11 hotels and rental companies on board. Add to that another 5-6 that are interested and expected to join soon.

The whole point is to create a pool of about $500,000 dollars over the course of a year. Marc Jordan with the Chamber of Commerce said those dollars would go toward marketing and advertising in target areas around the country to feature North Myrtle Beach area hotels, restaurants and attractions.

The Chamber hopes the extra money will help bring even more people to the Grand Strand. Jordan said it is an effort just launched recently.

Jordan said, "Probably the next five to six months is really just collecting the money but while we are doing that we will be selecting an organization to come in and help us determine where and how best to spend those dollars."

Jordan added there is one restaurant Duffy's Seafood that is going to start charging a 1% voluntary fee. Guests will see that fee marked on their meal ticket so it is clear the money goes toward a local marketing effort.

Jay Perkins said he has seen the TV ads advertising Myrtle Beach. Perkins said, "They talk about the hotels, talk about the beach, the golf.  It's sort of enticing and I think it makes you want to come to the beach."

Perkins said he would be willing to fork out the extra dollar to go toward North Myrtle Beach advertising. Perkins said, "I love to golf, to advertise that along with the restaurants...for a dollar...it's hard to beat that."

Businesses on board with the voluntary charge are hoping visitors will feel the same way. Marcia Hanscome, the owner of Vacation Rentals of North Myrtle Beach is one of the 11 recent businesses to sign up for the one dollar fee.

Hanscome said, "On average it's a weekly stay so it would just add seven dollars to their reservation and it helps bring more people to the area. It helps our businesses, restaurants and attractions."

Marc Jordan said, "Every community just about in this country is doing this and if you go somewhere and visit get your itemized list you'll see probably something on there being elected for a local marketing fund."

Jordan said the goal is to have more businesses owners charging the extra dollar. Jordan said, "Since we only have eleven or twelve that have signed up you would have to say well what's everybody waiting on and yea, I think there are some that wonder if it's worth it."

But Hanscome said any extra money to pay for outside advertising is well worth it. Hanscome said, "Even though we all have our separate businesses and we're basically in competition we are all striving for the same thing and that is to bring awareness to North Myrtle Beach."

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