Myrtle Beach showed off for travel agents from Canada this week, aiming to impress them enough to encourage them to send more Canadian travelers to the Grand Strand.
About nine representatives from the Canadian Automobile Association spent four days checking out live theater shows such as Medieval Times and attractions such as the Skywheel and Barefoot Landing. The Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau arranged the trip, and the agents were selected to participate through an online contest, CVB spokeswoman Nora Battle said in an email. They represent the Ontario region of CAA and its 2 million members.
“Our goal is to educate the agents on as much of our area as possible so they are better able to sell the Grand Strand and the many things our area offers to their customers,” she said.
The visit gave Rick Mauro, CAA’s vice president of marketing and public relations who is based in Niagara Falls, a different perspective on Myrtle Beach after he ventured outside the iconic beach and commercial core to venues such as Brookgreen Gardens that showcase a more natural habitat.
“We’ve seen a lot of things that are different than preconceived notions of Myrtle Beach,” he said before hitting Broadway at the Beach on Thursday. “We saw that there was so much more here.”
CAA aims to have its agents visit the places they sell, Mauro said.
“We like to make sure agents have first-hand knowledge of a destination,” he said. “It’s so much different when you can actually see it.”
Canada has long been the largest international market for the Grand Strand, which every spring celebrates those visitors during Canadian-American Days. More airlines have started to fly between Myrtle Beach and Canada, including Porter Airlines, which kicks off its service to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport on Sept. 13.
More Canadian travelers are asking about the Grand Strand, Mauro said.
“It is definitely an increased interest, particularly given some of the airline opportunities,” he said.
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