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Coming Summer 2018: One-stop flight from China to Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach City Officials announced Wednesday a non-stop flight from China will service MYR. (WPDE File Photo) 

Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes announced Wednesday that a flight will go from China to Atlanta and then passengers would have the option to stay on the plane to fly to Myrtle Beach International Airport.

"Bringing the tourists who spend the most in the US to Myrtle Beach just got easier," wrote Rhodes in a Facebook post.

He said the project had been in the works for years.

"With all the American money that ends up in China our Beach is now positioned to be a major player in bring those dollars back!" wrote Rhodes.

Rhodes said the flight will be through Delta Airlines.

Brad Dean, President and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, confirmed the plans for the flight.

He said the flight would be direct from Shanghai to Atlanta on Delta. That means Chinese travelers can now connect to MYR with one stop, no baggage transfer and won't have to change airlines, Dean said.

He added that this is more convenient and more affordable option for travelers.

"This is the first for our region from China, which will make it easier and cheaper for Chinese travelers to get to our region," he said. "We have been working on this for a few years and the effort was led by Brand USA and the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau with help from the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce."

Thursday morning, Dean said he was in Atlanta meeting with Chinese tourism leaders and Delta to discuss the new flight.

He said in a statement to ABC15 News, "China is the largest source of inbound travel to the U.S. outside of North America, with Chinese travelers spending $33 Billion in the U.S. each year...Bringing Chinese visitors to our community will grow our local economy, create jobs, and generate taxes for schools and roads."

Mayor Rhodes said the flight can only help the local economy.

"It's a domino effect. The more you bring in, the more jobs it creates at all levels. From the management level to the basic regular employee level," he said.

But, it's taken years to accomplish the deal. It's also taken time to establish the bridge between Myrtle Beach and China.

"We've been building rapport with [Myrtle Beach], showing them what Myrtle Beach has to offer the family vacation and also, as I said, the golfer," said Rhodes.

The flights can't come soon enough for Zhen Ridgway.

"Everybody's excited, everybody's talking about this when we heard this just, 'Oh, is that real?'" she said.

Ridgway is from China and most of her family still lives there.

She moved to Myrtle Beach two years ago. Since then, it's been difficult for family to visit--they have to fly to Charlotte or Atlanta. Her brother and his family flew in this past summer.

"We drove [to Charlotte] and got them here and they were exhausted. So I feel like, 'wow,' next summer, I can get my parents here to come here and 'no problem.' I don't have to drive anywhere," she said.

ABC15 reached out the Myrtle Beach International Airport Thursday. As of Thursday night, we have not received any comment on the flight.

Dean said the Delta flight is set to start Summer 2018.

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