Summer tourism season for coast businesses

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Judy Fuselier is kicking off her mini vacation at the beach in Biloxi.

"We love the beach and Biloxi.  We knew it was building back up again, and we wanted to see it," says Judy Fuselier, Morgan, City, Louisiana.

Al Fresco Italian Bistro sits off the beach in the Edgewater Village Shopping Center.  Restaurant manager, Darlene Smith, points to post-Katrina progress for more customers coming through her doors.

"Well, this year the roads are finished.  We've seen an influx of out of town people as well as  regulars.  It's been good, better than last year," says Smith.

Down the street at the Edgewater Inn, it's a similar story.  Managers say the completion of projects and re-opening of businesses has driven more tourists to the hotel.

"This year has been a whole lot better, a whole lot better than last year.  We weren't really sold out last year.  Last year, you didn't have as much (down here).  This year there's a little more going on for kids and for grown ups," says Trish Adamic, hotel manager.

At Get Wild, tourists can rent items like jet skis and aquacycles.  Business has picked up slightly, but it's still not up to pre-Katrina levels.   The owner, Patrick Pigott says his business also faces another challenge when it comes to attracting customers.

"It has been better than last year because of new businesses opening up on the Coast...but we have been getting rain pretty much everyday which isn't good for our business," says Pigott.

To get a better idea of where tourists come from and what's drawing them here, the Harrison County Tourism Commission is handing out surveys at tourists destinations throughout the county.

©2009 WLOX. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.