HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - For nearly a decade, he's worked to help lure more visitors to the Coast. But Rip Daniels has said he's done with the Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau. Daniels served on the tourism board until Monday when he submitted his resignation. Tuesday, he told WLOX why he quit.
The Crustaceans ad campaign is one example of what Daniels calls bad decision making by the Gulf Regional Tourism Partnership. Daniels said he sees that carrying over to the board of the Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau.
"The leadership of the current CVB is the old leadership for the most part of the Partnership. The Partnership was in charge of spending $16 million of BP funding over three years to promote the coast," said Daniels. "The reality is the return on that investment was very poor because number one the kind of advertisement done and number two, more importantly, the Partnership at the time sought to run dual agencies which didn't make sense."
John McFarland served as president of the Tourism Partnership. He said tourism tax revenues increased because of the efforts of the Partnership.
"If county supervisors did not agree the Tourism Partnership had done a good job, they would not have modeled the CVB after the Partnership," McFarland said. "They would not have appointed so many Partnership members to the CVB board."
Daniels said he is also quitting because he feels major decisions are being made only by a few.
"The dictatorial way that the current commission is being run," said Daniels. "It seems to be not as inclusive of the stakeholders as what it set out to do. I think some decisions have already been decided prior to meetings given the fact the fact on many occasions the votes seem contrived to me."
Kim Fritz is board president of the CVB and was on the board of the Partnership. "As far as the CVB, we do have committees to discuss certain things. They make recommendations to the board. There are no decisions made before the board meetings. All board appointments are made by the boards of supervisors."
Daniels said he submitted his resignation to Harrison County Supervisor William Martin, who appointed him.