Tourism Initiative Outlines Five-Year Milestones and Accomplishments

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce today announced “Grand Strand 2020,” a tourism initiative outlining the destination’s five-year annual milestones and cumulative accomplishments to be reached by the year 2020.

Grand Strand 2020 is announced on the heels of a successful National Travel and Tourism Week, and ahead of the area’s busy summer season.  Annual milestones to be reached by 2020 include:

  • Welcoming 20 million visitors
  • Welcoming 1 million deplanements at the Myrtle Beach International Airport
  • Attracting 300,000 new group room nights
  • Generating $8 billion in economic impact

Grand Strand 2020’s cumulative five-year impact on the Myrtle Beach area will be:

  • Welcoming 95 million visitors
  • Welcoming 5.2 million deplanements at the Myrtle Beach International Airport
  • Attracting 1.3 million new group room nights
  • Creating 1,000 new jobs in tourism
  • Generating $750 million in publicity (per industry standard advertising equivalency measurement)
  • Generating 50,000 real estate leads from tourism marketing
  • Attracting $200 million in capital investment

“Tourism is already the No. 1 industry in both Horry and Georgetown counties, bringing more than 17 million visitors to the area each year. We have every confidence our community will be prepared to welcome 20 million visitors to the area by 2020,” said Brad Dean, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. “Grand Strand 2020 is not just the Chamber’s vision; this is the vision for the entire community. We all share in this together.”

“This is an exciting time to live and work in the Myrtle Beach area,” said City of Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes. “With this new initiative for our community, we’ll aim to grow tourism during the spring and summer seasons, generating more year-round jobs in the process, and extending the charming Southern hospitality for which our area is known.”

“Tourism has and always will be the centerpiece of our local economy. The growth in tourism the Grand Strand has experienced the last 7-8 years is nothing short of phenomenal,” commented Steve Chapman, managing partner of Island Vista Resort. “The volume of vacation travelers that visit the Grand Strand subsequently become advocates regarding the quality of life is in our communities and suggesting to other that this area would be a super spot for retirees and/or new and relocating businesses or industry.”

Bill Golden, president of Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday added, “A vibrant tourism industry produces a thriving local economy along the Grand Strand. From job creation, infrastructure investment, product development and new air service, a robust tourism economy provides not only a great place to visit, but a wonderful place to live and work.”

According to independent research released on May 2 from Coastal Carolina University, tourism generates more than $7 billion in economic development each year in the Myrtle Beach area and supports more than 83,000 jobs, an impressive 80 percent of which are year round.

“As a small business owner, a strong and growing tourism industry is critical to my business.  Growth in Myrtle Beach tourism means growth in my real estate business,” stated Radha Herring, broker/owner of Watermark Real Estate Group.

"Tourism plays a pivotal role in attracting future residents.  Many discover our area while vacationing and chose to permanently relocate bringing new business, trade and skills to the community,” said Laura Crowther, CEO of the Coastal Carolinas Association of REALTORS®.  “The housing demand from the sheer amount of residents relocating has and will continue to be a primary driver in our real estate market." 

“The tourism industry remains vital to the economic health of our area. Tourism dollars create jobs not only directly within the industry, but in other economic sectors as well,” stated Beth Stedman, president and CEO of the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce.  “Tourism generates income which stimulates additional investment and growth in our communities.”

Bob Childs, mayor-elect of the city of Surfside Beach added, “The dollars invested by tourists in local businesses flow throughout our economy and are responsible for more than half of the jobs along the Grand Strand. Tourism is our primary industry, and the dollars generated from it are essential. Tourists spend money on any number of goods and services during their visit and those dollars support the health of our local businesses and their employees. In turn, these local businesses and their employees spend money on the goods and services they need. Tourism is the economic engine that drives our local economy, and it is critical that we keep it healthy and take every opportunity to promote and stimulate it.”

“As the gateway to Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand, Conway has long benefitted from the positive economic impact of tourist traveling to and from our area beaches.  By showcasing our rich history, scenic riverfront, and our true southern charm and hospitality, Conway has maintained and continues to enhance our thriving downtown with diverse shopping, dining and entertainment options enjoyed by locals and visitors alike,” said Kelli James, executive vice president of the Conway Chamber of Commerce.

To learn more about Grand Strand 2020, go to or

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About The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce

Since 1938, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce has stood as the unified voice of the Grand Strand's business community. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has awarded the MBACC its five-star accreditation, one of only several chambers in South Carolina to earn this distinction. The MBACC serves Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach, Little River, Atlantic Beach, Garden City Beach, Loris, Conway, Aynor, Murrells Inlet, Litchfield Beach and Pawleys Island. For more information, visit The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is the proud recipient of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives’ “2015 Chamber of the Year” award.