GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - A $225,000 grant from BP is going to be used to put Jackson County on the tourism map. The chamber has hired a production company to shoot a promotional video that will be sent across the Southeast, in an effort to lure more visitors to what will now be called Mississippi's East Coast.
Tuesday's video shoot began at dawn, with the sun rising over Gautier's city park, and shining a brilliant light on the Pascagoula River delta.
The reason for this project is simple, according to advertising agency owner Beverly Brown Dees.
"We're hoping to re-package Jackson County from a tourism perspective, focusing and building a base of eco-tourism as the branding," Dees said.
Chamber officials hope the video shot Tuesday will cast a new reflection on what Jackson County has to offer visitors. From the quiet solitude of Horn Island, to the birder's paradise on Front Beach in Ocean Springs, to the quirky allure of Hucks Cove restaurant, beauty is what the campaign is all about.
"We're just trying to capture the beauty of the area, the wildlife, the plants, the scenery, the whole Pascagoula River delta," videographer Kevin Sibley said.
Kathy Wilkinson owns and operates Eco-Tours of South Mississippi. She knows the lure of Mother Nature could help her own business in the future.
"I think that Jackson County has long been thought of as an industrial county and people seem to forget that we have this awesome natural resource which is the river and the sound," Wilkinson said.
And with all this beauty might come a little green, as well, from the pockets of potential visitors, Brown Dees said.
"Our purpose is going to be basically selling Jackson County to regional markets, neighboring states, as well as our own county itself."
Once the video is finished, it will be posted on the chamber's website, as well as social media sites like YouTube and Facebook. It will also be shown in kiosks at state welcome centers, and shipped to media outlets across the southeast with an invitation to come and visit.