Myrtle Beach Area Chamber CEO testifies on Capitol Hill about tourism

Brad Dean, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, is in Washington, DC Thursday, where he testified as part of a hearing called, "The State of U.S. Travel and Tourism: Industry Efforts To Attract 100 Million Visitors Annually."

The hearing was conducted by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation's Subcommittee on Tourism, Competitiveness and Innovation, according to chamber spokesman Brad Dickerson.

Dean spoke on five key issues, Dickerson said.

  • · Travel and tourism, and its ability to create jobs and fuel economic growth

  • · The success of BrandUSA

  • · Requesting that Congress reauthorize BrandUSA

  • · How infrastructure can grow tourism and create jobs

  • · Government regulations

"Dean told the committee that travel and tourism can be a key solution in creating jobs and fueling economic growth as the country continues its recovery from the recent economic collapse," Dickerson said.

Dean was joined by representatives from BrandUSA, the U.S. Travel Association and various federal agencies.

According to its website, BrandUSA says its mission is, "to encourage increased international visitation to the United States and to grow America's share of the global travel market. In doing so, we aim to bring millions of new international visitors who spend billions of dollars to the United States, creating tens of thousands of new American jobs."

As part of his testimony, Dean urged Congress to reauthorize funding for BrandUSA.

"America's international tourism strategy before BrandUSA was much like trying to hit a major league fastball using a broom handle. You can swing all you want, and every now and then you might get lucky, but long-term success is highly improbable, if not impossible," Dean said. "In addition to promoting the beauty, grandeur and widespread appeal of America and all it has to offer, BrandUSA has opened up promotional doors for communities like (the Myrtle Beach area) in countries throughout the world.

Dean also talked about the job creation possibilities of Interstate 73.