Karen Riordan, President and CEO, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce

Our own Cindy Gettig, an active Myrtle Beach Chamber member, introduced Karen Riordan who has been in a leadership position with the Chamber since 2018. Having graduated from Boston College, Karen has over 25 years of marketing and management experience.

The mission of the Chamber is to provide community leadership in the promotion of economic development, including tourism. Karen’s message about the current and future growth prospects for the Myrtle Beach area was very optimistic. In 2020, despite the disruption of Covid 19, there was $11.4 billion in gross tourism sales for the area which was down only 7% from 2019. This was especially encouraging, since earlier projections indicated a possible downturn of 42%. Horry County is the second fastest growing county in the country

Recognizing the growth potential of our area, Southwest Airlines decided to provide nonstop flights to and from 10 cities: Nashville, Baltimore/Washington, Chicago, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Columbus, Indianapolis, Kansas City and St. Louis. On Southwest, two bags fly free including a golf bag. The Myrtle Beach airport now serves 50 markets with direct flights. Myrtle Beach was recently named the Best Small Airport in America.

In 2021, Karen believes that our area will rebound faster than other areas in the country due to the strong entrepreneurial spirit that exists here. As a part of the initiative, the Chamber is especially committed to influencing the redevelopment of downtown Myrtle Beach and the legislative priority of Interstate 73. Karen announced the launch of a new Visit Myrtle Beach brand that promotes the area as a year-round destination.

This summer, the marketing campaign will initially target families with a come as you are theme.