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      Tourism could get big bucks from SC budget

      The South Carolina house unanimously approved a 6.5 billion dollar state spending plan this week and some of that money could come to the Grand Strand for tourism.

      The house plan passed with a 115 to 0 vote. It would lead to more jobs across the Grand Strand, according to MyrtleBeach area Chamber of Commerce President Brad Dean.

      Dean says a line item in this budget includes a fully funded state agency and a record amount of money in the 2 for 1 matching program in the amount of 8 million dollars. That's more than ever before, and could lead to promotion money for the Grand Strand.

      The money is set to go to promotion of the tourism industry.While some might think of ads instead of jobs, Dean insists there's a trickle down effect from that investment on job creation.

      "To try to attract visitors who aren't already coming here, who have never visited the Grand Strand. When they do, that means our restaurants and hotels are busier and that leads to more job creation and more money flowing through our community," he said.

      Dean says the money is definitely something needed, because South Carolina tourism is facing competition from the state of Florida and the Gulf Coast, which still has promotional funding from BP after the 2010 oil spill.

      The state senate still needs to vote on the budget and Governor Nikki Haley needs to sign it for the money to be official.