Myrtle Beach chamber president to testify during tourism hearing before U.S. Senate committee

Myrtle Beach chamber president Brad Dean will be among those testifying Thursday about tourism before a U.S. Senate committee.

The hearing will focus on the state of the U.S. tourism industry, especially on public-private travel promotion efforts. It also will address the 2012 National Travel and Tourism Strategy, a plan to attract 100 million international visitors annually by the end of 2021.

The hearing, which starts at 10 a.m., is before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s subcommittee on Tourism, Competitiveness and Innovation.

Dean is one of four scheduled witnesses; the others are Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association; Christopher Thompson, president and CEO of Brand USA, a public-private partnership to promote international travel to the United States; and Mike McCartney, president and CEO of Hawaii Tourism Authority, according to the committee’s website.

Dean, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, also is on the board of directors of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, U.S. Travel Association and Destination Marketing Association International.

Tourism drives the economy along the Grand Strand, with about 15 million people visiting the area each year.

This is also National Travel and Tourism Week, which has been marked since 1984 as a way to remember the economic impact tourism has on communities.