Floodwaters dampen shoulder season tourism in Myrtle Beach - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Floodwaters dampen shoulder season tourism in Myrtle Beach

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is still in the middle of  the "60 More Days of Summer Campaign," a push to get more tourists to visit the area after the summer season, but recent floods and rain has had an impact on off season tourism. 

 According to Brad Dean, President for the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, the Grand Strand stands to lose millions in tourism dollars because the recent storm and flooding. 

The week before the historic flooding and rain, WMBF News met with Phi Vassar, Chairman of the Convention Visitor's Bureau Marketing Council, who said the campaign was on track to be successful.

"We're pacing up above that 5% rate to almost 8% rate for this September, October, November range, and speaking with other hoteliers they are finding the same results," explained Vassar. 

That was before the flooding began. The "60 More Days of Summer" campaign is in its second year. It was designed to promote travel during the  shoulder season. The campaign would also reinforce to tourists that Myrtle Beach is a year-round destination.

Vassar said, " You have the same restaurants, the same attractions, the same shows, everything is available while the hotel rates are a little bit less."

But more than 30 days into the 60 day campaign, the historic flood has forced the chamber to adjust its marketing message, according to Brad Dean. 

He said they are now working to let visitors know that Myrtle Beach is open and ready for their business. 

Dean said the Chamber has fielded concerns from visitors, who assumed the area was closed and under water, but he said now the concerns have shifted to visitors worried about whether or not they can get to their destinations due to road closures. 

Dean said the Grand Strand could see millions of dollars, and tens of thousands of visitors lost because of the storm. He said they are currently working to reassure tourists that it is business as usual here. The Chamber is using social media to address visitor's concern and questions. 

The fall broadcast campaign that generally reaches 70 markets is alerting visitors that Myrtle Beach is open for business. 

Vasser added, "We want to send a message out there that there is still a beautiful season in the Myrtle Beach area, great opportunities to enjoy everything that the Myrtle Beach area has to offer."

Dean said The Chamber media's team is working with the state tourism office to directly reach regional and national media to get the word out as well.

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