We’re more than just golf and family: Myrtle Beach now pushing Wellness offerings
Kimberly Hartley, Canadian/International Sales Manager, Myrtle Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (left), and Diane Charno, Director of Marketing, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.

More than golf and family: Myrtle Beach now pushing Wellness offerings

TORONTO — Ahead of Myrtle Beach’s ’60 More Days of Summer’ promotion this fall, the destination is making a big push to promote offerings that go beyond its traditional golf and family-friendly attractions.

The focus now, said Diane Charno, Director of Marketing for the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, is on the area’s wealth of wellness options, which runs the gamut from spas and horseback riding to wine tasting and yoga on the beach. According to Charno, a Wisconsin native who recently made the move to Myrtle Beach this past March, the destination has always offered wellness options but is only now making a strong effort to promote them.

“Studies show that the wellness travel segment is growing faster these days, with people wanting experiential activities,” she told Travelweek. “We have everything from parasailing to paddleboarding and kayaking, which are not new to the destination. But from a messaging standpoint, we’re focusing more on the value of wellness and soft adventure in the area.”

And what a large area it is, she adds. Myrtle Beach spans an impressive 60 miles of coastline, stretching from the Carolinas border to just north of Charleston, comprising 12 distinct communities, each with different personalities. In total, there are over 425 resorts offering 98,000 rooms and suites that range from moderate to high-end, but a new trend is seeing more and more Canadians booking beach home accommodations.

Myrtle Beach view looking south

Myrtle Beach view looking south

View on pier at sunset Myrtle Beach

View on pier at sunset

“We’ve received a lot of agent inquiries about beach homes in the area, including ones on stilts,” says Kimberly Hartley, Canadian/International Sales Manager for the Myrtle Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, who also notes that many of these accommodations are commissionable to agents. “We’re finding that more Canadians don’t want to stay in commercial areas and are more interested in places in the low country, like Pawley’s Island and Litchfield.”

Though the destination may be seeing more interest in alternative activities, attractions and accommodations these days, this isn’t to say it’s turning their focus away from the main markets of golf and family. With more than 100 championship golf courses and over 50 mini golf courses, Myrtle Beach has cemented its ranking among the top golf destinations in the U.S., if not the world. And as such, Canadians continue to arrive in droves.

Mini golf in Myrtle Beach

Mini golf in Myrtle Beach

Approximately one million Canadians arrive in Myrtle Beach each year, representing a staggering 85% of the destination’s international market. This is undoubtedly due in large part to long-running initiatives like the annual Canadian-American Days Festival and the upcoming ’60 More Days of Summer’ promotion, now in its third year and launching right after Labour Day throughout October. The idea behind the promo, says Charno, is to entice Canadians to either stay a little bit longer to soak up Myrtle Beach’s warm weather, or to book a fall trip in order to escape Canada’s impending winter season. Either way, they’re in for plenty of sunshine and great value.

“From September to October, the weather is still great and the water is still warm, giving Canadians the chance to swim at the beach right through the fall,” she says. “They’ll also find less crowds and more affordable prices, since prices tend to peak in the busy months of July and August.”

And with this year’s promotion being closely tied to the theme of wellness, Canadians can expect more value-added packages that include everything from spas to soft adventure, not to mention an array of new activities and attractions that will enhance their stay.

Here’s a list of what’s new in the destination:

The Broadway at the Beach entertainment and attraction complex

The Broadway at the Beach entertainment and attraction complex

  • The Broadway at the Beach entertainment and attraction complex is undergoing major changes as it enters its 21st year. The former Celebrity Square district is being transformed into an historic-looking warehouse district, while Hard Rock Café is being relocated to make room for a new 40,000 square-foot Dave and Busters. Completion is expected by the start of the summer.
  • The Naomi and Stanley Bleifield Gallery at Brookgreen Gardens opened in January 2017, showcasing the work of American sculptors whose subjects are taken from the natural world. Brookgreen Gardens contains the most comprehensive collection of American figurative sculpture in the country.
Brookgreen Gardens

Brookgreen Gardens

  • Construction has begun on a new 50,000 square-foot development building along the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, which will bring several new restaurants, retail and a live music venue to the oceanfront. Plus, the Boardwalk will be extended another block in the north to connect to a new Hilton hotel property.
  • Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach opened the only indoor glass bottom boat adventure in North America. Guests can step into a 16-foot-long boat with only three inches of glass separating them from the sharp-toothed predators of the Dangerous Reef tank below.
  • Buchanan Motels will bring two new high-rise hotels to central Myrtle Beach, both currently unnamed. The first will boast 240 rooms and include a water park that can be enclosed in winter (opening date Spring 2018), while the second will be located across the street from an indoor water park and feature 228 rooms (completion date 2017).
  • The 30-acre Springmaid Beach Resort has been transformed into a DoubleTree Resort by Hilton. It now boasts a new 20,000 square-foot main building, oceanview restaurant with outdoor seating, lobby bar, snack area and outdoor entertainment courtyard. Plus, all 452 guestrooms have been completely refreshed.

For more information on travel to Myrtle Beach, go to VisitMyrtleBeach.ca.

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