New commercial aimed to revive MS coast tourism - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

New commercial aimed to revive MS coast tourism

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The rush is on to keep the oil spill from ruining South Mississippi's summer tourism season. Everyone from charter boat captains to restaurant and hotel owners are reporting huge economic losses. They blame constant media coverage for making visitors reluctant to come here. This weekend, television production crews began shooting a commercial aimed at getting people back to our area.

What looked like a typical family, mom, dad and two kids, enjoying a day at the water park was actually actors hired to help revive a struggling coast tourism market.

Laura Hasty of The Big Three Advertising said, "The concept of the commercial is basically tell people that we are open to business."

The Harrison County Tourism Commission is paying for the commercial to convince visitors not to stay away because of the oil spill crisis. Advertising agency officials say the ad will also feature restaurants, casinos and other attractions to show what the Mississippi Coast has for vacationers to do.

"That we have a lot more to offer than just the beaches," Hasty said. "We have a lot of family activities. We have our casinos and the Gulf Coast is fine."

Officials say the commercial will be shown in major cities in the Southeast.

"We're doing this to combat the negative publicity that we've been given nationwide,"said Hasty. "We're going into markets such as Dallas, Houston, Charlotte, Tampa, Jacksonville. These are markets that are fly-in markets. We're spending about $600,000, and that's all the money we have right now. "

Gulf Islands Water park opened last week. The general manager says that business off to a strong start, but he said much depends of the collective success of area attractions.

"It's huge. Tourism is a major part of the coast economy," said Mark Moore, General Manager. "At all times tourism and people coming to the community is not only good for the economy and jobs; it's good for everybody. We're simply a member of that community, and we want to participate in that. "

Whether the actors can deliver a convincing enough performance for lure tourists back to the coast is yet to be seen.

"We're hoping," said Hasty. "It's better than just sitting idle. We're trying to do what we can to bring our visitors to our area."

Advertising officials say the commercials should begin airing by the middle of next week.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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