05 MAR 2013: With March break just around the corner it definitely means one thing: last minute bookings to those sun swept shores. Over the weekend as thousands poured into the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to get the low down on golf favourites at the Toronto Golf and Travel Show, the folks from Myrtle Beach went one better than everyone else.

They held a pre-show opener - an intimate media briefing in Myrtle Beach style with hush puppies, BBQed skewered chicken and yes, some bubbly, to announce some fast approaching anniversaries and spring developments.

Diamond Jubilee

On March 12, 2013 Myrtle Beach is celebrating 75 years.

“There’s been a lot of changes and development. Today it’s a brand new grown up Myrtle Beach. There’s been tremendous rejuvenation and revitalization that happened in the last five to ten years,” Kimberly Hartley, the Canadian rep for the Myrtle Beach Area CVB, explains.

Bill Golden, Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday's president added there are now more roads plus a mega airport expansion nearing completion to help boost even more traffic to the sun-kissed vacation spot. www.MBITAP.com.

75 Secrets

To coincide with the anniversary celebrations, download a list of 75 Things to do that you might not know about listing some little known discoveries and other fun trivia.

Here are a couple teasers:

⋅ Sports Illustrated got its start at Pine Lakes Golf Course.
⋅ The oldest eatery is Peaches' Corner.

You can download the list at www.visitmyrtlebeach.com/75secrets.

But make no mistake Bill explains there’s one fact that’s no secret, “The people of Myrtle Beach love Canadians.”

They really like us

The Myrtle Beach - Canadian vacation connection dates back a long time but as Kimberly points out this year marks the 52nd anniversary of the longstanding Can-Am Days which nicely coincides with Ontario’s March Break dates.

“This March 9-17 it’s our annual event for Canadian visitors. There are Canadian flags displayed, special hotel rates, discounts, parades, and of course the largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Carolina is in Myrtle Beach,” she smiles.

Clients will like the cost savings. “The Can-Am days are a good time because it’s still low season from December to March.”

A complete event listing for the 52nd Annual Canadian-American Days can be found online at www.myrtlebeachareachamber.com.


The drive crowd is big and with only a 1.45 hour direct flight from YYZ, air is soaring.

WestJet will introduce a twice weekly YYZ-MYR service timed to connect with 97% of its operations at Toronto Pearson International Airport. Flights will operate on Thursdays and Sundays, starting May 2.

"WestJet's decision to offer non-stop flights to Myrtle Beach provides us a golden opportunity to attract golfers from not only Toronto but across Canada," says Bill. "Canadians take more than 1 million golf trips annually, and WestJet's entry into the market will make the Grand Strand an even more attractive destination."

Porter Airlines is in its fourth season with twice yearly service available February-May and September-November.

And American carrier, Spirit Airlines has three gateways to service Canadians: Niagara Falls NY, Plattsburg, NY and Detroit, MI.

Golf Capital of the World

The Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce reports The Grand Strand has long been regarded as the best value in golf travel. “Myrtle Beach has grown into its role as the home of the game’s largest concentration of high-end courses,” reports an annual report.

So once you touch down the beach is only one mile from the airport but for golf fans it only gets better. Bill says just around the airport there’s a golf course plus about 10 others to choose from.

With 102 golf courses spread across the Grand Strand, it’s a golfer’s dream come true. “Golf season starts in Myrtle Beach,” says Bill and adds, “Besides spring season is golf season” around the destination that boldly dubs itself the “Golf capital of the world.”

Even in Low Country, “amazing courses are there because of the topography,” says Kimberly.

Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday (www.golfholiday.com) is the golf marketing arm for Myrtle Beach for all golf resorts, and packages.

“Agents can work directly with Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday and they will direct them to the golf packagers, resorts and tee time schedules, it’s so convenient,” Kimberly notes and adds, “In Canada the travel agent has three golf tour operators to go to including MBGH which is also excellent. We work with Merit Golf Vacations, Griffon Golf Vacations in Montreal and Golf The World Vacations in BC.

The Myrtle Beach area, popularly known as the Grand Strand, stretches from Little River to Pawleys Island, comprising 12 cities along the South Carolina coast. Home to world-class golf, 100 kilometers of sandy beaches, an assortment of entertainment and family attractions, not to mention good old fashioned Southern hospitality, no wonder we’ve been big on Can-Am for 52 years.

For additional information on the Myrtle Beach area, visit www.visitmyrtlebeach.com or call (888) Myrtle-1.

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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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