Coast tourism leaders prepare for Sugar Bowl visitors

Coast tourism leaders prepare for Sugar Bowl visitors

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The 2015 Sugar Bowl is less than a month away. This year's match up features No. 1 ranked Alabama and No. 4 Ohio. The annual bowl game is always in New Orleans, which gives the coast an opportunity to attract some of those visitors. Monday afternoon, the Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau met to discuss ways to get South Mississippi in on the Sugar Bowl tourism action.

"Whenever anyone is searching for Sugar Bowl rooms, Ohio State, University of Alabama, anything like that would be relevant to the Sugar Bowl, our website page will come up. So, they'll be able to get information on all the packages available as well as New Year's Eve packages," said Renee Areng, Executive Director of the Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau

After Sunday's announcement that Alabama and Ohio State were the two teams facing off in this year's Sugar Bowl, tourism leaders got to work on creating two different packages that would encourage visitors to stay here in Mississippi.

"There's all kinds of incentive packages. Restaurants will offer gift cards, and stuff like that for their whole package. They'll show up at the hotel they will check into the hotel. They will actually get a package that will tell them exactly what time their bus is coming. They will have all the contact info of the bus in case they get separated," said Richard Chenoweth, who is a tourism board member

Tourism leaders have been offering deals like this to visitors for years. Four Points by Sheraton General Manager Kenny Glavan says participation in the package deals usually depends on which teams are playing. With number one ranked Alabama in the game, he feels this year could be one of the most successful years for Mississippi lodging yet.

"When we heard the news that they announced the teams that were playing, everybody got excited. You saw our tourism bureau get excited and our hotel association get excited and now we've got to get the word out very quickly," said Glavan.

The package deals include a two night hotel stay with transportation to New Orleans starting at $280, and a one night hotel stay with transportation to New Orleans starting at $190. These deals are already available by calling 1-888-388-1006, but Areng says they are not available for booking online at this time. A web page should be created within a few days.

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