Karen Riordan, CEO of the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce

Karen Riordan, CEO of the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce (MBCC) was our speaker on Wednesday, August 28th.  She has a long career in marketing and originally hails from Boston.  For the last 15 years, Riordan has served as the Williamsburg, Virginia Chamber executive.  At Wednesday’s meeting, she noted that there are over 2800 businesses in the MBCC. The chamber is made up of 42 staff with an annual budget of $53 million.

In terms of tourism, Myrtle Beach tourism is greater than Charleston and Hilton Head combined. Karen noted that “everyone” is involved in tourism including the plumber and the baker.  Myrtle Beach is being marketed successfully such that direct flights to Houston and Denver have developed over the last few years. 92% of the tourists are still “driving the market”, but some of those travelers are from farther away such as Pennsylvania and Ohio and tend to stay longer (and spend more)!

The Chamber also advocates for beach renourishment, highway construction and has also been involved in education reform to help build the workforce of tomorrow for the Grand Strand region.   Riordan suggested that we look for the site and app, “Check my Beach,” which monitors water quality along the Grand Strand. Thank you Karen Riordan and the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce for leading Wednesday’s program.