MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Sports tourism is a growing industry on the Grand Strand, just last year events like tournaments and games helped bring in more than $100 million to the Myrtle Beach economy.
That number is expected to increase as new sports complexes open in the coming months and years which mean there will be a growing demand for workers qualified to work jobs in the sports tourism industry.
Tuesday night, The Horry Georgetown Technical College board gave the college the green light to work on developing a sports tourism degree program.
Senior Vice President of HGTC Dr. Marilyn Fore said the city of Myrtle Beach came to the college about 6 months ago asking if it could look at starting a program that would help fill the demand for workers in the sports tourism field.
"They think that there is a need for this training, and they've come to us to get the students to serve as interns," said Dr. Fore.
The next step for HGTC is to work with the state to get the ball rolling on the program with classes starting as early as next fall. With the goal in mind to have students ready to work internships at Myrtle Beach's new 100,000 square foot indoor sports facility near the convention center that is set to open in early 2015.
"From the get go we plan to have this program, but hands on as soon as that facility is ready to open we want to have our students in as interns," added Dr. Fore.
The students will be paid interns, with the purpose that upon graduation the students will stay and work with sports tourism somewhere along the Grand Strand or in the state.
The sports tourism program would not be like most others already offered at HGTC so the college will work to find an expert in the field to bring in and run the program. Dr. Fore said the college already has the funds to add the increased faculty.