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MB takes top rank on Yahoo! beach list

Would you choose Myrtle Beach over Sydney, Australia? Miami? Honolulu?

Yahoo! users did. In the list of the "World's Best Beaches," the Grand Strand took the top spot, outranking destinations that dwarf Myrtle Beach in visitor numbers, reputation and general name recognition.

This isn't a misprint.

"Some smirk when we refer to our destination as a 'world class destination' but apparently the users of Yahoo! agree, as we rank at the top of the list, which includes Hawaii, Florida and other famous international beach destinations," said Brad Dean, president of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.

Yahoo! users voted online. More than 680 people have posted reviews of Myrtle Beach, some adding photos of themselves in the surf.

The popular site should help get more positive attention for the Grand Strand at a perfect time as travelers plan their summer vacations, Dean said.

"Any ranking by a reputable source is flattering, but given the level of exposure this grants us - to millions of Yahoo! users - plus the prominence given to this list in the Yahoo! Travel section, we're thrilled," he said.

Yahoo!'s top 10 beaches:

Myrtle Beach

Miami, Fla.

Cancun, Mexico

Kaanapali, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii

San Diego, Calif.

Boracay Island, Philippines

Key West, Fla.

Sydney, Australia

Santa Barbara, Calif.

Hotel supervisor honored

Around the Fairfield Inn-Broadway at the Beach, they call her "Mom." The hotel's chain, Marriott, calls her the national "Associate of the Year."

Both have a nice ring for Elizabeth Pitino, the hotel's front desk supervisor, who this week picked up her award in San Antonio and chatted about her grandkids with the chain's big man and namesake, Bill Marriott.

Pitino's patience in giving complicated driving directions, willingness to make dinner suggestions for guests and ability to train other employees made her a shoo-in, said Ana Ivanovic, the hotel's general manager.

"My dream was to own a bed and breakfast, but I never had the financing," said Pitino, 61. "This is the next best thing."

As for being called "Mom" around work, Pitino is used to that name. She raised four kids she gave birth to, one foster child and her niece. She also has five grandkids. "It doesn't bother me at all," Pitino said. "I've been somebody's mom for most of my life."

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