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Tourism Tiff: Virginia Beach, Virginia Claims Unethical and
 Unfair Advertising by Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

By Issac J. Bailey, The Sun News, Myrtle Beach, S.C.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

May 21, 2008 - Things must be reaalllly boring in Virginia Beach, so boring that James B. Ricketts, director of Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, had time to think about Myrtle Beach.

"Stealth" advertising by Myrtle Beach had gotten his shorts all in a wad.

He's upset because of ads that tell search engine perusers that Myrtle Beach is "the perfect departure from Virginia Beach Vacations" and is "a wonderful alternative that's more relaxing, has more thrill, and is easier on your wallet."

"This is unethical, unfair and frankly beneath the dignity of a major resort like Myrtle Beach," Ricketts wrote. "I therefore request that you remove this offensive language and spirit from your Web site and any other marketing usage, existing or planned, and refrain from any similar activity in the future."

And FM 99 WNOR in Virginia set up a Web site making fun of Myrtle Beach.

"Would a place Called the Gay Dolphin really be a place where you would want your kids hanging out?" the Web site asks, referring to one of our beachwear stores.

Hilarious. Poor fools. Poor, blind fools. Can't sell your destination, well, blame someone who is selling his.

Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce head Brad Dean seemed to shrug it off. He must have silently chuckled during an interview with a Virginia radio station. A host told him about a six-story high landfill that is now a park.

All we have is the first-in-the-world Hard Rock Park.

Picking on Virginia Beach is a bit like picking on your little cousin, the one with the braces you know he'll be wearing even when he's a toothless 72 year-old.

The one who smells as though he hasn't taken a bath since the nurse gave him a quick once over in the hospital's birthing room.

Virginia Beach gets about 2.75 million annual visitors. We get more than 13 million.

It brags about its 35 miles of waterfront property. Isn't that cute. The Grand Strand has 60 miles of beaches.

It has about 300 restaurants. We have about a million. It claims more than 12,000 lodging rooms. We have about 90,000.

The area's big claim is that it is home to the first permanent European settlement, established in 1607. Impressive -- until you realize that was 81 years after Europeans tried to settle in Georgetown.

"Fit Pregnancy" named Virginia Beach the most stroller-friendly city. Myrtle Beach was dubbed the "World's Best Beach" by Yahoo! Travel.

I can make fun of Virginia Beach. But what would be the point?

ONLINE -- For past columns and to read Bailey's blog, go to MyrtleBeachOnline.com.

Contact ISSAC J. BAILEY at ibailey@thesunnews.com or 626-0357.

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To see more of The Sun News, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.MyrtleBeachOnline.com.

Copyright (c) 2008, The Sun News, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

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