Myrtle Beach Chamber says viral blog post could hurt tourism

News

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – News13 recently spoke with Myrtle Beach city leaders about a recent blog post that went viral. The post says Myrtle Beach is under a “no swim advisory,” which isn’t entirely true. Officials say the the beach is open to swimmers, but the post has prompted some visitors to re-think their vacation plans.

Ocean Lakes Campground Marketing Director Barb Krumm says she heard about the apparent no swim advisory last week.

“We were getting emails and phone calls from homeowners and campers and house renters wanting to know if they could swim in Myrtle Beach,” said Krumm.

The post on MyrtleBeachSC.com refers to signs on the beach that read “swimming is not advised” in certain areas after heavy rainfall. DHEC says the signs are strategically placed at rain run off locations along the beach.

“As locals, we understand storm water and swim advisories, but when you’re coming from another area they were really concerned about changing their summer vacation plans to Myrtle Beach,” explained Krumm.

She decided it was best to educate visitors on what the signs mean and where it is safe to swim.

“The facts that DHEC gave me are on our web page,” she stated.

Areas within 200 feet of the signs are under a long-term swim advisory, the rest of the beach is open.

“For a visitor from Ohio or Pennsylvania who doesn’t understand the difference between a long term advisory and a no swim advisory, it can be easily confused,” said MBACC President Brad Dean.

He says posts like the one on MyrtleBeachSC.com have negative consequences.

“Sadly this kind of misinformation which was propelled on the internet can have an impact on our spring and summer travel if we aren’t proactively addressing it,” he said.

Dean says they’re answering questions and using social media to let visitors know the water is clean and safe to swim in, but they may have to advertise.

“Most visitors assume that our beaches are clean and safe so it’s a hard message to advertise but if it becomes damaging enough to local businesses we certainly will,” states Dean.

Myrtle Beach has already spent millions on ocean outfall project to address storm water issues. For now, Dean says they’re doing everything they can to protect water quality.

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