Center welcomes more tourists across state line - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Center welcomes more tourists across state line

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

By Krystal Allan – bio | email

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - For the Authements and their two grandsons, a mid-week get-away meant packing up and heading to Biloxi.

"We're just looking to have a good time, trying to escape from Louisiana," said Guy Authement from Abita Springs, LA.   

Workers at the Hancock County Welcome Center say the Authements' story is one they hear quite often. They say this year they're seeing more people stopping in from across the state line to visit the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

"They're glad we're one state away, and they don't have to go to South Florida. They can come to the Mississippi Gulf Coast," traveler counselor Michelle Jordan said.

"It's easy to get to Mississippi and get home in one day," Robin Authement said.

Traveler counselor Michelle Jordan said the center was down about 9,000 visitors in May, compared to last year.  But, she said, of those who come from Louisiana and other nearby states, their numbers are growing.

"A lot are coming from Louisiana and several from Texas.  They're asking us about their beaches and if they're still open.  We are getting a lot of them going to the Gulf Shores and Pensacola area. But for the most part, they are coming here and going to our beaches," Jordan said.

The beach, as well as Biloxi's Edgewater Inn, were on the Authement family's itinerary.  They say, in situations like these, it's best to stand behind your neighbors and spend a little green when you visit across the state line.

"We're neighboring states.  We would hope y'all would support us, so we're supporting you," Robin Authement said.

At the Jackson County state line, welcome center numbers are down by about 13,000 visitors.  Workers there said the oil could be a factor, but they also point to the economy.

Local tourism leaders said they're pushing commercials and incentives like gas cards for consecutive nights at hotels to lure more people to the coast.

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