Harrison Co. tourism leader shifts more focus to booking conventions

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - When Beth Carriere became the new Harrison County Tourism Commission Director, she said one of her top goals was to boost convention numbers. Just a few weeks on the job and she's already started putting a plan into action.

Carriere said her goal is to utilize every bit of the Coast Convention Center's 400,000 square feet of meeting space.

"We have an excellent staff. We're going to work towards much larger conventions using more of the square footage of convention center," said Carriere.

She said everyone from casinos to hotels to tourists attractions stand to gain when conventions choose to meet on the Coast.

"They eat in restaurants. They game in casinos. They go to souvenir shops," Carriere said. "They go to the shopping malls and centers."

"Conventions are typically things that people may not have a big choice where they're going so it's a way for us to get thousands of people in here to experience this area for the first time. Hopefully not only will the convention return but the conventioneers that come to these conventions will come back and bring their family or friends," Carriere said.

Carriere said she knows attracting and booking more conventions will take a team effort. She's already sat down to discuss strategy with her marketing and sales staff, as well as, the convention center director.

"I have made convention sales and bookings a priority with my time that's going to be spent there," said Carriere. "I've already pulled the staff together. We've already revamped their focus to conventions and meetings that will fill the convention center floor and exhibit space. So already the sales staff has a new direction."

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