Myrtle Beach’s War on Tourism

I’m reposting verbatim some text from commentor Dennis. I personally think the city government of Myrtle Beach has recently gone insane in their efforts to get rid of the bike weeks in May. Let’s see, during Black Bike Week one local resident shot another local resident, neither one of which were participating in the rally. I strongly believe that a lot of this is motivated by the fact that the killer was black and it was during the Atlantic Beach rally week. If a white guy shot a black kid during the Harley week, they wouldn’t be in such a hurry to commit civic financial suicide.

I’ve seen this happen before. If Myrtle Beach gets rid of the few hundred thousand bikers from May, they will also get rid of the extra trips from those people when they come back later with their families. Tourism isn’t surgical, it is viral. If you get people in for any reason and they like it, they keep coming back. If you send them away for any reason, they stay away. I like this area, I’m a local and I want businesses I frequent year around to stay in business so they are there in January when I need them. I suspect if the rallies magically disappear next year, there would be a chain reaction of business failures and a toilet bowl swirl in the local economy. There are certainly problems with the bike weeks but taxing the residents extra to make them go away is completely insane.

Now, here is the information from Dennis:

Bike Week Update….WE NEED YOUR HELP

Here is the schedule for the next city council meeting:

If you will be negatively affected by the attempts by the City and County to eliminate the Bike Weeks, we need you to attend a meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 25th at Revolutions in Celebrity Square at Broadway at the Beach.

The next County Council Meeting is July 1 at 6 p.m. at the Courthouse in Conway.

The next City Council date is Tuesday, July 8. The workshop begins at 9:00 a.m. here at City Hall. The regular meeting begins at 2:00 p.m. at the Collins Law Enforcement Center.

If you are impacted in the least as a business, an employee, whatever it might be. We can’t afford to have government selectively decide what tourists are good and which ones are bad.

And, even if you aren’t impacted, the following statement appeared on-line at yesterday afternoon and should be very concerning. It is not in today’s print section of The Sun News.

Mr. Martino wants to decide which tourists come to town! And, I thought the 3 mills was to get rid of bikers, not to replace lost revenue. I would be worried that your taxes are going to go even higher!

Councilmembers said they hope to see a concerted effort among everyone who’s affected — hoteliers, merchants and the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce — because they will all play their parts in replacing bike-rally visitors with other types of tourists.

“We’re going to have to displace them with the tourists we want,” Councilman Chuck Martino said at Tuesday’s workshop discussion. “Then when the bikers want to come, the hotel rooms are already full.

“But if we don’t replace them, I don’t think three mills is going to make up for the lost revenue.”

Bike Weeks

A year ago I posted about Myrtle Beach’s bike week, which quickly devolved in the comments to an interesting but orthogonal discussion of class and gated communities. This year was fairly uneventful. The Harley week seemed to be the mellowest one since I’ve lived in the area. For big portions of the week it would be possible on my daily commute to not realize the bike week was happening. Even hot spots like the area around Suck Bang Blow had a fraction of the traffic I was prepared for. I don’t know why this is, but if I had to hazard a guess it would involve the price of gas.

This week is the Atlantic Beach Bike Rally aka “The Sports Bike Rally” aka “Black Bike Week.” I just dropped the dog off this morning for a bath and went to the beach to kill some time while that went on. Again, there was a little insanity on Ocean Boulevard but not as much as I was prepared for. I misunderstood when they were undoing the one-way traffic pattern. I thought it ended at 8 AM today but it was still on when I got there at 9:30 AM. One thing I like about spending some of my lunch hours driving randomly in the beach area is that now I know ways to avoid traffic better. I was able to get from the south end of Ocean up around Bummz with only a few blocks on Kings Highway, and then from Bummz to the mall seeing hardly any bikes whatsoever.

I live 15 miles inland so the bike rallies don’t cause me much consternation and I have the option of mostly avoiding them if I want to. For me the only real downside of lower turnouts is that I don’t want businesses I frequent to close if they don’t get enough busy seeing dollars to see them through the winter. That’s party of the life of a full-time resident of a tourist town – trying to dole out your business to keep joints open that you want to eat at or shop at in November or February.