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.
MYRTLE BEACH — The fun and festivities that mark the annual CAN AM Days are now well underway, however a long list of Myrtle Beach area hotels, merchants and attractions offer discounts right through April 30, 2019 for travellers with a valid Canadian passport.
This year’s annual Canadian-American Days runs March 9 – 17, marking the 58th edition of this popular Myrtle Beach event.
The discounts aim to help Canadians make up the difference in the Canadian exchange rate. Starting at 25%, the discounts ramp up to as much as 55%.
Karen Riordan, President and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, says the late winter and early spring seasons in Myrtle Beach offer mild weather, more affordable accommodations and more elbow room at area attractions. “We have been a favourite destination for Canadian visitors for decades, and we want them to know that we appreciate them and welcome them to the Grand Strand,” says Riordan. “The special promotions for our Canadian neighbours provide even more incentive by bridging the gap in the exchange rate.”
Special offers for Canadians begin in January and in most cases continue through September, and in some cases, even longer. Here’s a sampling…
Coupons are not needed to receive the discount; clients just need to show a valid Canadian ID. Special offers will continue to be added on the CAN AM promotions page where more detailed information, as well as restrictions, will be posted.
For lift, Porter Airlines has resumed its annual seasonal nonstop service from Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre Airport (YTZ) to Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR). The flights run through to May 19, twice weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays with more frequent flights during March Break. Porter Escapes offers ITC packages with air, accommodations and attractions to Myrtle Beach during this seasonal period.
Also WestJet Encore will offer its annual seasonal air service from Pearson to Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR) starting April 29 through to Oct. 27, twice per week on Mondays and Fridays.
Myrtle Beach continues to rank as one of the fastest-growing family and vacation destinations in the nation, attracting some 19 million visitors annually.
New activities and attractions include THEBlvd (theblvdmyrtle.com), completed in October 2018. The new 55,000-square-foot complex along the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk at 14th Avenue North is a brand new beach club that brings several new restaurants, retail stores and a live music venue to the area.
Other highlights include more shows and cast members for the GTS Theatre for 2019 (gtstheatre.com), and a new Grand Strand Arts Trail (theartsgrandstrand.org).
Meanwhile the Myrtle Beach Mall is set to get a makeover with the proposed opening of $15 million in new retail and restaurant space. Named ‘The District’, current plans include multiple waterfront restaurants and a boardwalk with a lighthouse and gazebo along the Intracoastal Waterway. And a new Topgolf is now open in Myrtle Beach inside a 38,382-square-foot building at 29th Ave.
Complimenting all the new restaurants opening up in Myrtle Beach, foodies can also take advantage of a new food tour option. Corina Whitehead, owner of Carolina Food Tours, plans to open new food tour locations in Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach and Conway in 2019. The guided food tours last between two and a half to three hours and include three to four restaurant stops along with historical background of the area. Tours are currently offered in Murrells Inlet, Georgetown and Pawley’s Island. Prices range from $70 to $100 a person (carolinafoodtours.com).
Canadian/International Sales Manager, Myrtle Beach Area CVB, Kimberly Hartley, reminds agents that the new 2019 Visitors Guide and 2019 Meeting Group Planner Guide have both arrived for distribution and agents can contact Envoy (envoynetworks.ca) to place their order or contact Hartley directly.
“Visitor Guides are ideal as a reference for travel agents and a take-along guide for consumer clients who are flying or driving to Myrtle Beach this year. The guide includes a pull-out map and discount coupons,” says Hartley.