I can’t wait to see what the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce comes up with to essentially disinvite tourists who come to the area during Memorial Day weekend, particularly those here for the Atlantic Beach Memorial Day Bikefest:
A campaign sending a strong message to potential Memorial Day weekend visitors to obey local laws will kick off in early 2015 and cost six-figures, part of an effort aiming to regain control of the holiday weekend after it turned deadly this year.
This campaign doesn’t have the usual roll-out-the-red-carpet message of typical tourism ads aiming to lure potential visitors to a destination and could cause some pushback.
The message will be “we welcome anyone and everyone who desires to visit our local community and obey our laws, but if you don’t intend to follow our laws, we prefer you stay home or go elsewhere,” said Brad Dean, president of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, which is putting the campaign together.
Dean, who has been outspoken about regaining control of Memorial Day weekend, said he’s hopeful the strong message in the ads won’t turn off potential visitors, and that they might appreciate the community’s effort to keep the destination safe.
Officials will be quick to say they aren’t disinviting anyone who plans to behave and obey local ordinances. It is hard to take that at face value, unless you (falsely) believe upheaval and violence only happen during one weekend of the year.
I’ll comment more on the campaign once more details are revealed. But I do have questions.
Here are a few:
Is there another group of tourists who needs to have the same message sent to them?
Why aren’t we doing it for them, too?
What will be the criteria to launch similar campaigns in the future?
Under-age dudes drinking heavily and diving off hotel balconies to their deaths. Will they warrant such treatment any time soon?
Or handsy drunk golfers who come for the gentlemen’s clubs as much as the back nine?
Considering that we don’t know who is responsible for a triple homicide that weekend - which sparked all of this discussion - how can we know the campaign will be reaching the right people?