The Hancock Chamber rolled out the welcome mat for state tourism leaders this week with a FAM, or familiarization, Tour of the area. Chamber members say it's important that those who market tourism attractions in Mississippi know what Hancock County has to offer.
"This is our way of arming our Mississippi sales force with the tools they will need to generate business for our local businesses," said Tish Williams, Executive Director with Hancock Chamber of Commerce.
Nine state tourism leaders are visiting Hancock County this week. They market the state's tourism attractions to conventions and to travel writers and tour groups. Their stops in Hancock County included Buccaneer State Park , the county's two casinos, the Hundred Man Blues Hall and the Ground Zero Katrina Museum in Waveland.
"It's so overwhelming to see the pictures," said one state tourism leader.
Chamber of Commerce leaders say most of Hancock County's tourism products have been improved since Hurricane Katrina, and there is a lot more to see and do here.
"The Hancock County tourism product has been significantly enhanced," Williams said. "We have a new hotel that's about to be constructed right here at the Sliver Slipper, so we're going to have increased hotel inventory. And now we have all kinds of museums and attractions."
State tourism leaders like what they are seeing.
"So far Hancock County is just a treasure of tourism products for us at the state. As we were coming in, we immediately noticed how things have started to build," said Chris Chapman, Bureau Manager for the Mississippi Development Authority's Tourism Division.
Jennifer Spann, the public relations director for the organization, agreed.
"It's just a different side of the Gulf Coast that I think visitors will really enjoy and will be surprised about."
The tour continues Thursday with stops at the Infinity Science Center, the Scenic by-ways in NASA's Buffer Zone and will conclude with a tour of Mississippi's first brewery, Lazy Magnolia.
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