MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Sports tourism is a billion dollar industry that the Grand Strand is tapping into and its one Horry-Georgetown Technical College students can become a part of starting August 25, with paid internships.
This fall, HGTC is offering a new sports tourism associates degree program. It's the first and only one in the state, and the school says it's doing so because jobs are on the way.
"Event planners, recreation directors and so forth have told me that we can hire college grads but we can't find any with hands on training so this program is certainly going to offer them that opportunity," said Lawson Holland, the department chair for the program at HGTC.
The school teamed up with the City of Myrtle Beach and will give students paid internships during the course.
Mark Beale, the marketing and business development manager for the Myrtle Beach Sports Complex says students will be working at Grand Park, the new Myrtle Beach sports facility, that's being built; Pepper Geddings, area high schools, and any other place where area sports related events are happening.
"Anything from marketing to ticket collecting to being event monitors to anything we can help them with," said Beale about what types of jobs students will get experience with.
Sports tourism is all the rage on the Grand Strand. North Myrtle Beach recently built a sports complex on more than 160-acres of land and Myrtle Beach is in the process of completing its own 100,000 square foot indoor facility.
"We've got the hotel accommodations, we've got the facilities, we've got the shopping and in my opinion the grand strand should be the mecca for sports tourism," said Holland.
HGTC says the program is about half full and anyone interested should apply as soon as possible.