Eco-tourism could give the coast a huge boost - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Eco-tourism could give the coast a huge boost

The tour began at the Gulf Islands National Seashore Davis Bayou complex in Ocean Springs. From there, the group went to the Sandhill Crane Refuge in Gautier for a look around. (Photo source: WLOX) The tour began at the Gulf Islands National Seashore Davis Bayou complex in Ocean Springs. From there, the group went to the Sandhill Crane Refuge in Gautier for a look around. (Photo source: WLOX)
After lunch, the group boarded a boat and took a tour of the Pascagoula River basin. (Photo source: WLOX) After lunch, the group boarded a boat and took a tour of the Pascagoula River basin. (Photo source: WLOX)
JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

Now that the coast is being marketed as one single destination, those in charge of getting the word out need to know what the entire coast has to offer. In Jackson County, that something is Mother Nature. So commissioners, staff members, and ad agency executives representing the Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau took a look around on their own tour of the county.

The first stop, Davis Bayou in Ocean Springs. Then a short walk along the nature trail, followed by a pep talk from the park ranger. There were lots of questions and even more pictures. Eco-tourism at its best on display.

Molly Kier just moved to the coast. The tour is a real eye-opener for her. "It's super important because we have to represent the area through advertising and we need to tell its story. So seeing it firsthand is great and really inspiring," Kier said.

"This is a great opportunity to remind people what we have here on the coast, how unique these places are from beaches to barrier islands," said Jill Mastrototaro with the National Wildlife Federation.

Eco-tourism brings in millions of dollars each year - $39 million at Davis Bayou alone. Tours of the Sandhill Crane Refuge in Gautier are popular, as well.

"It's becoming more important. We've got to pull more tourists in here," business owner Richard Chenoweth. "You know, we've lost a lot of locals in Jackson County and it has really hurt business."

What will help businesses are tourists like Doug and Pat Stephen from Colorado. They have one priority when planning a trip.

"Nature is pretty much the decision," Doug explained. "The geology, the biology, the botany is what we're looking for, so I would say that is the number one deciding factor."

The group also toured the Pascagoula River as part of Tuesday's program. Commissioners with the convention and visitors bureau then held their monthly meeting at the Grand Magnolia Ballroom in Pascagoula, the first time such a meeting has been held outside of Harrison County.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • Victim shot after barbecue in East Biloxi

    Victim shot after barbecue in East Biloxi

    Wednesday, February 21 2018 9:57 AM EST2018-02-21 14:57:57 GMT
    (Source: File)(Source: File)

    Police are looking for information about a shooting that left a person injured Tuesday night in Biloxi. 

    More >>

    Police are looking for information about a shooting that left a person injured Tuesday night in Biloxi. 

    More >>
  • 'America's Pastor' Billy Graham dies at 99

    'America's Pastor' Billy Graham dies at 99

    Billy Graham, America's most prominent Christian leader, was the pastor to both presidents and everyday Americans. Graham preached to nearly 215 million people around the world.

    More >>

    Billy Graham, America's most prominent Christian leader, was the pastor to both presidents and everyday Americans. Graham preached to nearly 215 million people around the world.

    More >>
  • Threats made against Pearl River Co. school

    Threats made against Pearl River Co. school

    Wednesday, February 21 2018 8:26 AM EST2018-02-21 13:26:30 GMT
    (Photo Source: Pearl River County School District)(Photo Source: Pearl River County School District)

    The Pearl River County Sheriff's Department is investigating threats made against schools in the district. According to a Facebook post from the school district, investigators have identified the student that made the alleged threat.

    More >>

    The Pearl River County Sheriff's Department is investigating threats made against schools in the district. According to a Facebook post from the school district, investigators have identified the student that made the alleged threat.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly