NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The city of North Myrtle Beach could soon be implementing a tourism development fee if the voters cast ballots in favor of it on March 6.
The tourism development fee is a 1-cent sales tax on anything except unprepared food.
In the first year, 100 percent of that collected fee must to go to a nonprofit organization that is experienced in out-of-state marketing, such as the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce.
In the second year, 20 percent of those funds can be used by the city in a variety of ways, including a property tax rebate.
George DuRant, senior vice president of tourism development for the city, said this fee would help protect and grow the brand of North Myrtle Beach as well as bring in new visitors and revenue outside of the peak summer season.
"We want to even out our season here by bringing people in early spring, in late fall when honestly the weather is best on the coast," DuRant said.
The city estimates the tourism development fee could bring in over $8 million a year.
Some who call North Myrtle Beach home, however, said they are not in favor of the idea because they feel that residents already pay enough.
For business owners like Karen Dadush, who has called North Myrtle Beach home for nearly 25 years, she said the TDF is something the city needs to take advantage of now.
"The residents have to understand that tourism is our bread and butter," Dadush said. "That is our industry here and without the tourists we are nothing, so we need it."
If passed on March 6, the fee will go into effect around June.