BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Summer is almost here and tourism leaders are getting ready for the 2009 season. But the national recession and ongoing Katrina recovery are making it difficult to predict what will happen this year.
"We're in uncertain waters here," Harrison County Tourism Director Richard Forester said Monday.
Forester remains positive, saying, "We know there is demand and we think we can meet that demand."
On Monday, the Tourism Commission handed out its annual Billy Creel Excellence in Tourism Award to Linda Hornsby, Executive Director of the Mississippi Hotel and Lodging Association. Hornsby said the coast is still recovering from Katrina.
"We're still 5,000 rooms short of the number of rooms we had before Katrina. But the good thing is, the ones we have are new."
Memorial Day is right around the corner and school is ready to end, so tourism officials are hoping for the best.
"We're staying positive and feeling pretty good about things," Forester said.
Everyone is keeping an eye on gas prices. South Mississippi is considered a drive in market and the price per gallon has risen in recent days.