Myrtle Beach leaders return from leadership summit in China

Myrtle Beach leaders return from leadership summit in China

Myrtle Beach, SC (WMBF) - The beach, Skywheel, and golf courses are attractions millions see when visiting the Grand Strand, but to people more than 7,000 away they are brand new.

Recently, the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce released several videos as a part of Myrtle Beach's marketing campaign to China. The goal was to tap into the fastest growing source of international tourists.

"We want to get just a small piece of that pie and bring some of those tourists here to the Grand Strand," said Brad Dean, President of the Chamber of Commerce.

That's why recently, along with the Mayor of Myrtle Beach, Brad Dean with the Chamber of Commerce made the 19-hour flight to China.

While there, they spoke with the embassy about visa processing, and met with other leaders about how to get people to come here, over other big cities. The city is making this big push because of one big reason.

"They spend up to 20 percent of their annual income and we see when they come to the US they spend 4-5 times what the average tourists spends," said Dean.

One big way the city is trying to lure them in is golf. It's a growing sport in China, but not many people are able to play it.

"I think they were intrigued by what we had to offer and surprised, somewhat, to learn how much golf we can offer," he said.

On top of that, Chinese tourists are very attracted to unique, novelty-type attractions.

"Things like going to a shooting range and firing a rifle at targets are something they don't get to do in China," said Dean.

To remind people of all the attractions, the city is constantly posting to Chinese social media sites like Weibo. That way, people interested in Myrtle Beach can immerse themselves in photos and videos.

"The biggest thing we need to do now is build relationships with the travel and tour operators who are bringing Chinese travelers over here," Dean explained.

Along with courting tour guides, the city also has a new, innovative plan moving forward: cater to the families of Chinese Americans who are back in China.

"We're hoping we can tap those family and friends, get them to think of Myrtle Beach as a great place to come and visit," he said.

With all the moving parts to this plan, Dean says results shouldn't be expected soon. This is a long term goal that could change tourism in Myrtle Beach.

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