New CVB Executive Director has more than 20 years in tourism experience

Renee Areng
Renee Areng

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - A job that assists with creating awareness and visitation for events throughout the coast is now filled by a woman named Renee Areng.

The Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau or CVB made the announcement on June 24.

Areng will begin her new role as the executive director of the CVB next month. She has 20 plus years of experience in the tourism industry and currently lives in Louisiana, where she is the vice president of sales and marketing at Visit Baton Rouge. But, on August 1st, Renee Areng officially  begins her post as the executive director of the CVB.

"My interest is what a great opportunity, what a beautiful destination. What potential for growth, very exciting for me to have a brand new destination marketing organization with a brand new board to kick start from the ground up," said Areng.

Because of her work just three hours away in Baton Rouge, she's already learned quite a bit about the coast including the coast tourism industry's strengths and weaknesses.

"I think probably the largest challenge is that the recovery after Katrina and the oil spill don't seem to be nearly as strong here in Mississippi where both the book-ins, the Alabama Gulf Coast and the New Orleans area have surpassed pre-Katrina numbers," said Areng.

On the other hand she says she believes there are perks about the coast that larger cities like New Orleans lack.

"The pace is much slower than a larger city. I think people really come for that, but between the beaches and the gaming, the shopping is huge as well as in addition to the estuaries and the beautiful areas that aren't part of the main coast just so discoverable," she said.

A big step before beginning her position in South Mississippi is research. Areng says everyday she's learning more information about the coast and its events.

"I think people travel for events and that's a great way to get them to come to a destination they may not consider. Cruisin' the Coast I know is huge," Areng said.

She may be new to the area and still a few weeks out from her new job, but Areng has already hit the ground running. Areng told WLOX News she has talked to the CVB board about working with a the newly created national organization called Brand USA, which is the first international marketing arm that the US has ever had.

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