24 FEB 2016: Has the tanking loonie affected your clients’ travel plans south of the border this winter? Reps from Myrtle Beach, that favourite drive destination known for golf and beach holidays were in town last week to dish on ways that could help travel agents assist in their US bookings.

Taste of Myrtle Beach BBQ

Before last weekend’s double event whammy that saw crowds converge at the Toronto Golf and Travel Show and The Outdoor Adventure Show, both of which had South Carolina exhibitors, the Myrtle Beach Area CVB’s invited guests sat down at one of the city’s coolest bourbon and BBQ hang-outs, Smoque N’ Bones to enjoy finger lickin’ ribs, 18-hour brined chicken, and smokin’ spicey blackened catfish, all of which was washed down with a classic bevvie, The Old Fashioned (for yours truly anyway ;-) ).

It was the Taste of Myrtle Beach BBQ, and boy, is this sun destination more than beach and golf.  

“Myrtle Beach is a destination that is affordable, it has variety and it has something for everyone,” said Kimberly Hartley, Canadian account manager with the Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (VisitMyrtleBeach.ca) who rhymed off an additional hefty activity list that includes history, culture, kayaking, canoeing, bird-watching, cycling, hiking, camping, and the amazing resorts.

Myrtle Beach: value and affordability

Hartley explained how Myrtle Beach was the first US destination to announce last fall that it recognized the US exchange rate challenges facing Canadian visitors.  

“Our CVB was progressive about this. We love Canadians so we went to our members in the accommodations, attractions, theatres, restaurants, and the golf courses and developed a programme called the Can-Am Days Deals Savings Promo,” she said of the promotion which launched on January 1 and runs until April 30.  

The Myrtle Beach area will help Canadians “make up” the difference by offering discounts from 30 to 65 percent for visitors with a valid Canadian passport.

For more details see http://www.visitmyrtlebeach.com/hotels/deals/can-am/

The 55th anniversary of the Can-Am Days

This annual local tradition offers Canadians to take a break from the cold during the annual March Break on the school calendar (March 11-20); and, to soak in the sun and play at the many attractions. For this year’s special anniversary, expect plenty of festivities, and events including the St. Patrick’s Day parade. “You see Canadian flags everywhere and amazing discounts,” she says.

Hot Foodie Scene

Lots of opportunities to dig in and sample the growing restaurant scene which as one insider notes, Myrtle Beach is celebrating a culinary explosion.

The state even has a BBQ Trail (download a free map http://discoversouthcarolina.com/barbecue) and purports to be ‘the birthplace of BBQ’ which includes some heated talk on the Great Sauce Debate. The Four Official Sauces include tomato, light tomato, vinegar and a mustard-based BBQ sauce.  Explore South Carolina’s Mustard Belt too.

Getting there:

Myrtle Beach is accessibly by road and air. From Toronto, road trippers drive roughly under 15 hours. “We have a high drive market,” says Hartley and suggests an estimated 65 to 70 percent visitors drive to Myrtle Beach.

Airlines include Porter with seasonal service from now until May 23; and WestJet starting seasonal service on March 3 until November 30.   Agents can consult the various Myrtle Beach packages from WestJet Vacations and Porter Escapes.

So who’s ready to dig in?

(left to right) Scott Tomasello, tournament coordinator, Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday;  Cory Newbrough,  tournament coordinator, Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday; Andrew Cantrell, sales and marketing coordinator, tourism sales and marketing, South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism; Dolly Chewning, international manager, tourism sales and marketing, South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism; from Myrtle Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau: Kimberly Hartley, Canadian account manager and Ian Tillson, travel industry sales Canada


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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