Re “Myrtle Beach must rethink tourism tax - now” by Ann Dunham.
A recent letter to the editor suggests we should cease publicly-funded tourism promotion and bases this opinion on inaccurate or incomplete information that merits correction.
The writer recommends uses for the tourism development fee that are not permitted by state law. We adhere to state law and strategically invest in tourism promotion, which grows our economy and protects 83,000 local jobs. This allows us to compete with other tourism destinations in the U.S., all of whom rely upon publicly-funded promotion.
The author implies wrongdoing and asks whether the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors is knowledgeable of how public money is spent. The answer is, simply, yes.
We – the 26 members of the chamber’s board of directors – are engaged, involved and committed to the chamber’s mission. We meet regularly to measure progress towards our goals and remain committed to transparency and accountability, including quarterly online reporting of how we spend public funds.
The author implies the chamber somehow engages in censorship of local media, basing this on an unnamed source and an unconfirmed document. This is simply not true.
Since the tourism development fee was implemented, hospitality revenues have reached record levels (according to the SC Department of Revenue), hospitality jobs have grown to record levels (according to Chmura Economics) and airport traffic through our local airport continues to reach record levels (according to Horry County Department of Airports).
The writer acknowledges the chamber’s financial commitment to help fund additional law enforcement during Memorial Day Weekend. We believe investing in public safety is necessary and important. For this reason, we recently informed Myrtle Beach City Council that we are willing to help fund additional year-round law enforcement to ensure our community remains safe for residents and visitors.
While we may not all agree on the details, we certainly share the same goal of maintaining the Grand Strand as a great place to live, work and vacation. The MBACC will continue to be good stewards of public funds and do all we can to promote, protect and improve our community. And we hope public opinion will be driven by facts, not unfounded accusations.
This letter is on behalf of each member of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors.