MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau has joined hundreds of cities, states and businesses across the country in the nation's annual salute to the power of travel and tourism.  This year will mark the 31st annual National Travel and Tourism Week, and the celebration is set to run through May 11, 2014.

Each year, nearly 15 million tourists visit the Myrtle Beach area, and the MBACC is celebrating the week with activities and promotions for those visiting the Grand Strand. As in past years, MBACC members have received "Thank You for Visiting" static cling decals to place on their business or vehicle windows.

The chamber's visitor centers in Myrtle Beach and Murrells Inlet will also serve complimentary refreshments during the week, and the Myrtle Beach International Airport's visitor center will host live music periodically throughout the week as well as offer refreshments. The list of scheduled musical performances is below:

  • Monday, May 5 - Tim Peterman - 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Steel drums
  • Tuesday, May 6 - Joan Burton - 12 to 2 p.m. - Guitar and vocals
  • Wednesday, May 7 - Bobby Shropshire - 12 to 2 p.m. - Guitar and vocals
  • Thursday, May 8 - Javier Vega - 12 to 2 p.m. - Trumpet
  • Friday, May 9 - Doug Fankhauser - 12 to 2 p.m. - Guitar, vocals and chapman stick

Throughout National Travel and Tourism Week, an advertising campaign touting the benefits of tourism will be seen in local newspapers and radio and television spots.

"While this week in particular is important for recognizing our visitors, we have to remember that the ‘thank you for visiting' phrase isn't just a one-week message. We should demonstrate our ‘thank you for visiting' hospitality every week of the year, to all customers and visitors," said Brad Dean, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, "While it may be our 60 miles of beautiful, sandy beaches that bring tourists here for the first time, it's the community's warm Southern hospitality that brings them back again and again."

National Travel and Tourism Week was established as National Tourism Week in 1983 when the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution designating the week to be celebrated in May 1984. In a White House ceremony, President Ronald Reagan signed a presidential proclamation urging citizens to observe the week with "the appropriate ceremonies and activities." By January 1986, industry leaders had formed a permanent full-time office at the U.S. Travel Association to sponsor the event and expand tourism awareness into year-round programs.