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March 19, 2020

Letter to the Editor: The Travel Industry Needs Relief Today

Travel and tourism are the integral parts of the Myrtle Beach area economy, encompassing more than 57,000 jobs in our area. While some of the small businesses that are members of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce aren’t tourism dependent, we find that a strong majority of our over 2,800 member investors rely on the millions that visit the Myrtle Beach area year-over-year.

The unprecedented public health crisis we’re facing right now has already had a substantial impact on these businesses’ bottom lines and employees’ pocketbooks. And let’s be clear, while all Myrtle Beach area residents may not be employed in the travel industry, every single resident reaps the rewards of the industry’s success. Whether you’re taking a ride on a county road, a walk on the City of Myrtle Beach’s boardwalk or enjoying some of the lowest property taxes in the southeast, residents and tourists helped us pay for these amenities that we cherish about our area.

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce exists to promote, protect and improve the Myrtle Beach area. The convention and visitors bureau within the chamber promotes our area to visitors around the country and the world. Our travel industry partners that contribute so much to our community, almost entirely small businesses, simply cannot weather this storm on their own.

The broader travel industry has called on leaders in Washington, D.C., to establish a fund to help keep workers employed, provide emergency liquidity for travel businesses to remain open and to bulk up the Small Business Administration’s loan program for emergency relief. We’re fortunate to have a representative in Congress that understands the importance of the travel industry in Congressman Tom Rice. His colleagues in the House and the Senate must act today to ensure the Myrtle Beach area travel industry and its 57,000 workers can sustain themselves during this painful economic period.

Karen Riordan

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