Myrtle Beach tourism official sounds off on ‘Welcome to Myrtle Manor’

03/04/2013 1:13 PM

03/07/2013 2:10 PM

The image portrayed on the premiere episode of “Welcome to Myrtle Manor” isn’t the reality most locals and visitors know, the area’s main tourism promoter said a day after the show aired.

“The so-called reality show depicts a much different image and experience than most locals and millions of visitors enjoy each year,” said Brad Dean, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, which promotes the Grand Strand to visitors. “While we are hearing plenty of negative feedback, we’re thankful it’s mostly coming from local residents and not past or potential visitors.”

Tourism is the beach’s main business, with 14 million tourists visiting the Grand Strand every year.

The hour-long show, shot last year in Patrick’s Mobile Home Park off Highway 15 in Myrtle Beach, premiered at 10 p.m. Sunday on TLC and featured the crazy antics of some of the park’s residents, including drinking, trying to solve bug problems in some of the trailers, relationship drama and the christening of an above ground pool at the park.

The show immediately fired up Twitter using the #myrtlemanor hashtag with viewers who said it was an embarrassment to Myrtle Beach and South Carolina and others who said it was funny and their new favorite show.

On Monday, some leaders in Myrtle Beach and at South Carolina’s main tourism promoter, the S.C. Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, still hadn’t seen the first episode.

Myrtle Beach City Hall got a few calls and emails Monday from folks who weren’t happy about the show, said spokesman Mark Kruea, who said Monday he had recorded the show but hadn’t yet watched it.

“I’ve told them, there are millions of people who have been to Myrtle Beach and they’ll be ambassadors and tell others what their experience was like,” he said.

Before the show aired, some residents said they were concerned about how it would portray Myrtle Beach and the affect that might have on potential visitors.

Others, including some Myrtle Beach elected leaders, shook off any idea of the show hurting Myrtle Beach’s reputation, saying TV viewers have learned not to take such shows too seriously. Some of the cast members said last week that the show is all real, not scripted.

“Growing tourism, boosting our local economy and creating jobs requires a solid marketing strategy and positive message, which we intend to continue delivering, regardless of staged television productions,” Dean said via email Monday.

The production features nine more hour-long episodes.

Staff writer Maya T. Prabhu contributed to this report.

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