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Oil spill throws Myrtle Beach area tourism into turmoil

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Grand Strand business leaders and experts see two possible — and very different —effects that the monthlong Gulf oil spill could have on local tourism.

If the spill stays in the Gulf, or near southern Florida, more tourists could choose to come to the Strand instead of those areas. But should the oil enter into the loop stream and spread up the East Coast, tourist fears may keep them away from the Southeast — including the Grand Strand.

A North Carolina official told McClatchy Newspapers on Thursday that there is less than a 1 percent chance of the spill reaching the Carolinas, but that might not stop negative publicity from affecting destinations such as the Grand Strand, said Brad Dean, president and chief executive of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.

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