Letters to the Editor

Letter | Tourism week good time to reflect on benefits of travel to Myrtle Beach-area economy and residents

National Travel and Tourism Week, which runs through May 11, provides a fitting occasion to shine the spotlight on our No. 1 industry. Throughout the year we encourage local residents and visitors to enjoy all that our region has to offer. However, Tourism Week brings additional focus to the economic impact of the tourism industry throughout our nation.

The Myrtle Beach area relies heavily upon a vibrant economy centered on its 15.2 million visitors and nearly $7 billion tourism industry. Other industries, like real estate, are closely tied to tourism. With two-thirds of our local workforce directly involved in tourism, National Tourism Week provides the perfect opportunity for us to express appreciation to the Myrtle Beach area travelers who have made this growth possible and all the employees who work in our hospitality industry.

The theme for National Tourism Week (2014) is Travel Effect. The U.S. Travel Association has identified many tangible benefits of travel that have a measurable and purposeful impact. Travel experience and the travel industry as a whole deliver societal, business and personal benefits of travel. Beyond the economic value of travel and tourism, many people now recognize that travel is not only good for our economy but also good for our health and well-being as well.

Striving for tourism excellence must be a continual and ongoing process in the promise, offer and ultimate delivery of a quality experience. If we satisfy a customer’s needs, we build the foundation to establish a relationship based on trust and loyalty. These factors contribute to customer loyalty and retention which are integral for success in travel and tourism and the growth of tourism in the Grand Strand.

Great customer service helps to turn visitors and locals into ambassadors of the Myrtle Beach area. So as we put out the welcome mat for our visitors this season, we should ensure that our “thank you for visiting” message is not only for tourists but for the locals who generously support our businesses year-round. When our tourists pack up and leave town, many businesses rely on the locals to keep our businesses afloat. So a big thank you goes out to our faithful neighbors who support local businesses throughout the entire year.

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce extends at big thank you to the hundreds of small business owners in the area who are an integral part of the economic engine of tourism and the many local residents that support our businesses. To learn more on how tourism positively impacts all of us, visit TourismWorksForUs.com.

The writer is president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.