The oil isn't stopping some from visiting South Mississippi - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

The oil isn't stopping some from visiting South Mississippi

By Jessica Bowman – email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It's been days since oil stopped spewing into the Gulf. So, is that bringing more tourists back to South Mississippi? One local Biloxi business owner said tourists may not be steadily coming back like in previous years, but he believes the oil capping is encouraging them to come back. 

The tourist hot spot is packed with out-of-towners searching for the perfect item to remember Biloxi Beach.

Jenny Coward said, "I wasn't going to let a little oil spill stop me from having a good time."

Jenny Coward is from Pelahatchie, Mississippi. Every month she and several of her friends come to support the local economy, but she noticed something different this month.

"A lot more people this weekend. Last month there wasn't as much, but this weekend seems like it's a lot more," said Jenny Coward.

J. J. Pierotich's Souvenir City has been in operation for more than 30 years. He believes the capping of the oil well could be the start of tourists making their way back.

"It seems like people have a much better attitude and they're ready to go back out again," said J. J. Pierotich.

Although he has not seen a spike in business, he is optimistic.

J. J. Pierotich said, "We're very encouraged, but people aren't spending as much money because the oil reaches way further than the beach. I don't think they have the money to spend to come over to Biloxi like they did in the past. So, hopefully they'll get on the spill and get cleaned up and try to keep it off the beaches to try and get most of us in the tourism industry to salvage the rest of the summer."

Despite oil on the beaches, Coward said her trips to the coast will continue.

"It's not as bad as everyone is making it out to be and I think once they get out here and see that it's not as bad, they'll start coming back," said Jenny Coward.

Pierotich said as far as tourist numbers being back up like in prior years, only time will tell.

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