Hancock Co. outlines legislative agenda

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The Hancock County Chamber of Commerce wants to make sure legislation is passed this year to ensure Hancock County continues to have representation on the Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau board. It's one of three initiatives that leaders in the county hope lawmakers will pass this session.

They will travel to the state capitol next week to try to ensure that happens.

Hancock County leaders say a two percent room tax on hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts would fund their voice on the regional tourism board.

"It's really important for the Coast to come together as one to market the Gulf Coast as a premiere travel destination," said Executive Director of the Hancock Chamber Tish Williams.

"When we join together and bring our resources together we can do far more than if we were to try to go at it alone."

The two percent tax in Hancock County is nothing new. It has existed on rooms there since 1996. What leaders will ask state lawmakers to do is to renew it, beyond its July repeller date.

"I feel very strongly in support of this. Tourism doesn't just happen you have to work at it and you have to spend money to bring visitors here and to get the exposure," said Nikki Moon, Owner Bay Town Inn Bed and Breakfast.

The second measure Hancock County leaders will push this legislative session also relates to tourism. They want the scenic byway on Beach Boulevard started in Hancock County to extend through Harrison County.

"Across the Bay Bridge and all the way to Debuys Road. We're asking the legislature this year to approve the designation of the extension of the Beach Boulevard Scenic Byway," said Williams.

"The ultimate goal is to see the Beach Boulevard Scenic Byway extended from state line to state line."

Williams says the designation would open the doors to eco tourism opportunities and allow communities to qualify for state and federal grants unavailable to communities without that designation.

The third issue leaders in Hancock County will push when they head to Jackson on Wednesday deals with Hancock County's Hospital Tax Credit Zone.

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