Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
TORONTO — In 2017, Myrtle Beach put a Wellness spin on its annual ’60 More Days of Summer’ campaign, highlighting such activities as yoga on the beach, spas and horseback riding. This year, the sun-soaked destination is focusing its efforts on attracting Millennial families through deals and incentives designed specifically for young couples and their kids.
“There’ll be many opportunities for millennial families this year to make memories and start new traditions,” Julie Ellis, Public Relations & Communications Manager, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber Of Commerce tells Travelweek. “The campaign will focus on celebrating “firsts”, and include offerings like a professional photographer on the beach to snap photos of your child’s first time in the ocean.”
‘60 More Days of Summer’, which runs from September to October, will pair year-round experiences with a series of special promotions that include these complimentary photo opps, themed lodging, attraction packages and more. More details will be announced in the coming weeks.
According to AAA and the American Society of Travel Agents, 44% of millennials are planning a family vacation in 2018, and they are looking to travel more frequently than their generational counterparts, averaging 5.4 vacations per year compared to Gen Xers at 1.8 vacations, and Baby Boomers at 1.65 vacations.
This, adds Ellis, represents a huge opportunity for Myrtle Beach, whose family-friendly attractions are hard to beat in terms of value and mass appeal. Just over one million Canadians made the trip in 2017, with 18 million international visitors in total.
Here are the Top 10 attractions and offerings to keep an eye on in 2018-2019:
1. Oceanfront Beach Club Entertainment Complex and Boardwalk Extension: Having just opened its doors this past April, the new 55,000 square-foot complex comprises several new restaurants, retail stores and a live music venue call Tin Roof. Plus, the Boardwalk will be extended another block on the north to connect to a new Hilton hotel property, and an oceanfront park will also be built.
2. The Carolina Opry Theater: A new live production has debuted for the 2018 season: Pure Magic, starring The Wagsters. This magic show includes everything from card tricks to comedy and drama.
3. Ripley’s Aquarium Pearl Harbor Exhibit: Open since February 2018, this new exhibit features models of ships and plans, an interactive map, a life-sized figure of President Roosevelt, a crawl-through replica of the USS Arizona, a theatre with memorabilia from the 1940s as well as various aquatic animals native to Hawaii. Visitors are able to trace back world events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor and experience the environmental impact that continues to this day.
4. Thunderbolt Park at The Market Common: Opening this summer, a new park and building complex in the Market Common district will include three miles of new paths, picnic tables and a lawn. Paths can be used by bicyclists, walkers and runners and will have an outdoor reading room, bike racks, bike repair stands and an outdoor classroom.
5. Topgolf: Opening in late 2018, the new 39,382 square-foot building will feature point-scoring golf games, food, drinks, big-screen TVs and live music for golfers and non-golfers alike. Golf games feature micro-chipped golf balls that produce instant scores while also showing players their accuracy and distance on a TV screen.
6. Barefoot Landing New Restaurant District: A new restaurant district is coming to the Barefoot Landing shopping and entertainment complex this spring in North Myrtle Beach. It will be known as the Dockside Village and feature waterfront dining along the Intracoastal Waterway, as well as new outdoor attractions and live music.
7. Hilton Ocean 16: Strand Capital Group is collaborating with Hilton Grand Vacations to build a new hotel featuring 330 luxury oceanfront units reaching a height of 260 feet. Now under construction, the hotel will be completed in summer 2019 and will be named Hilton Ocean 16.
8. Marriott Hotel: Plans are in the works to demolish two Breakers Resort hotel buildings and replace them with a Marriott-branded resort. The project will be done in two phases, with one tower being constructed and then another built with the addition of public space. Construction is set to begin on the first phase tower in the fall of 2018.
9. Asher Theatre: This is Myrtle Beach’s newest live performance, conference and event centre, which brings Las Vegas and New York City aces to the area in a family-oriented, hip and cultural, theatre setting. Their feature act is the widely-acclaimed impressionist, comedian and musician James Stephens III performing his title show, ‘Man of a Thousand Voices’, which includes spot-on impressions of Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Kermit the Frog and more.
10. Champion Autism Network: CAN is a nonprofit autism awareness organization based in Surfside Beach, South Carolina and started by Executive Director Becky Large. The organization has made a big push in the Myrtle Beach area in recent years to train tourism and hospitality officials in dealing with kids on the autism spectrum. With the CAN card, families can rest assured that their needs are met at restaurants and attractions, plus receive great discounts. There’s also a ‘Quiet Room’ at the Myrtle Beach International Airport.
For more information go to VisitMyrtleBeach.ca.