Myrtle Beach chamber backs expansion of Visa Waiver Program

Expansion of a program that allows citizens of some countries to visit the U.S. without tourism visas could increase the state’s and the Grand Strand’s chances of capturing part of a rapidly expanding market, according to some of the state’s travel leaders.

“International tourism is growing faster than domestic tourism,” Brad Dean, CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, said in a conference call Monday afternoon to promote expansion of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program to countries such as Brazil and Poland.

The expansion has been adopted as a cause by Partnership for a New American Economy, which released a study Monday that said allowing citizens of six more countries into the program has the potential to create 50,000 new American jobs within five years.

How many of those might be along the Grand Strand is impossible to say, but Dean noted in the call that Chinese spending in the market has increased markedly in the first three years — 2010 through 2013 — the area was a part of Brand USA, which promotes U.S. travel to international tourists.


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