MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - Brad Dean, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, today testified before a U.S. Senate committee as part of a hearing titled, "The State of U.S. Travel and Tourism: Industry Efforts To Attract 100 Million Visitors Annually."
The hearing was conducted by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation's Subcommittee on Tourism, Competitiveness and Innovation. Its focus was on promotional efforts to grow tourism in the context of the 2012 National Travel and Tourism Strategy, which aims to attract 100 million international visitors annually by the end of 2021.
Dean was joined by representatives from BrandUSA, the U.S. Travel Association and various federal agencies.
In his testimony, Dean spoke on five key issues:
- Travel and tourism, and its ability to create jobs and fuel economic growth
- The success of BrandUSA
- Requesting that Congress reauthorize BrandUSA
- How infrastructure can grow tourism and create jobs
- Government regulations
Dean told the committee that travel and tourism can be a key solution in creating jobs and fueling economic growth as the country continues its recovery from the recent economic collapse.
As for the role BrandUSA has had in spurring interest in the U.S. overseas, Dean testified that promotional investments generate a much higher return on investments, thereby allowing for the leveraging of brands in more markets.
"America's international tourism strategy before BrandUSA was much like trying to hit a major league fastball using a broom handle. You can swing all you want, and every now and then you might get lucky, but long-term success is highly improbable, if not impossible," Dean said. "In addition to promoting the beauty, grandeur and widespread appeal of America and all it has to offer, BrandUSA has opened up promotional doors for communities like (the Myrtle Beach area) in countries throughout the world.
"When it comes to BrandUSA, I have two words for Congress - thank you. And, if you'll permit, me, I have two more words to offer - please reauthorize."Dean also used the opportunity to tout Interstate 73 and its ability to create 29,000 jobs, boost tourism, attract new industries and save lives in the event of a hurricane.
He also asked Congress to reform its regulatory process on businesses, as some regulations are issued without appropriate consideration of their impact and burdens. This causes those businesses, its employees and consumers to all suffer.
"We've seen this in Myrtle Beach and I suspect we are not alone," Dean said. "Congress, when devising new laws, and the administration when implementing them, should apply the same basic principles that well-managed businesses and households apply - think before you act, and weigh the costs as well as the intended benefits."
A complete copy of Dean's testimony is available upon request.