Businesses See Memorial Day Weekend As Good Sign For Tourism

Tourism officials say 35-million visitors come to the Magnolia State each year and spend more than six-billion dollars.

The final numbers aren't out yet, but early indicators point to a solid start to the summer tourism season in South Mississippi. Some bsinesses say those indicators are a good sign during uncertain economic times.

If excursions to ship island are any indication of tourism trends, then Captain Louis Skremetta is in for a profitable summer.

"We feel like we're going to have a great season. So far the spring was excellent. A lot of people are traveling even though the fuel prices are up, it seems like we're getting a really good turn out. Our numbers are up this year compared to last year," Captain Louis Skrmetta.

Captain Skremetta has noticed an increase in regional vacationers, who he believes are rethinking their travel plans due to the higher gas prices.

"We had to rethink some of them. We were going to take a trip out to Texas, but we may not be doing that, " said Jeff Graham, a visitor from Hattiesburg.

Despite he irritating affect that gas prices have on some travellers, others in the tourism business say they're still seeing plenty of out of town guests this year from outside of the southeast.

"We had people here today from the Netherlands, Deutchland. We've had people from Russia, we've had a lot from Australia. I don't know what's going on there, but yeah, we had them from all different countries, and it's really neat," Yvette Mulcahy with the Biloxi Visitors Center said.

Tony Holladay who rents boats and jet ski's says he too has seen a wide array of out-of-towners wanting to Get Wet this Weekend.

"All over, from Michagan, New York, New Orleans, Florida, Gulf Shores, everywhere."

Captain Skremetta says it may have to top $3.00 a gallon before they are effected by the raising gas prices.

By: Don Culpepper