- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 14, 2006

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) — Myrtle Beach’s problem isn’t its image. Instead, travelers just aren’t aware of it, a tourism researcher says.

For years, local tourism promoters have worried that Myrtle Beach’s “Redneck Riviera” image was keeping away visitors. Instead, people just don’t know much about one of South Carolina’s most popular tourism destinations, travel researcher Peter Yesawich told a group of business leaders at the Myrtle Beach Marriott.

“You don’t have an image problem — that is a powerful revelation,” said Mr. Yesawich, president and chief executive officer of Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell, one of the leading marketing companies for travel clients.

A survey suggests that more than half the people in the areas where Myrtle Beach advertises the most are at best slightly aware of the destination, which can accommodate 20 million visitors a year but gets only about 14 million.

Mr. Yesawich suggests that Myrtle Beach bombard its target market with ads that show what the area has to offer. Myrtle Beach currently spends about $2 million on advertising.

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