History Draws Tourists - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

History Draws Tourists

History helps market the coast as a tourist destination. A growing number of visitors are spending leisure time at historic sites and museums.

And the Mississippi Gulf Coast features a number of attractions that depend on that connection between history and tourism.

"There is an increasing interest in getting in touch with our past," said Bob Hawkins, the executive director at Beauvoir .

Hawkins says that growing interest is a big part of the reason the Jefferson Davis home hosted more than 100,000 visitors last year.

"I think people are interested in history more these days. I think they're looking for new parts of history to learn about. And we find people who come from as far away as Japan and Germany who are still interested in what happened in the War Between the States, they're interested in the South."

Mary and Dave Olavson are fascinated by this slice of Southern history. They came to the coast for golf, but their visit to Beauvoir will be remembered and shared.

"We have two teenagers at home, 16 and 18. And we can share this with them. So I think it's kind of fun," Mary Olavson said.

Her husband agreed their side trip to Beauvoir was definitely worth it. They've discovered bits of Mississippi history before.

"We've been to Natchez quite a few years ago and went through all the old antebellum homes down there," Dave Olavson said.

The Maritime and Seafood Museum in Biloxi is another attraction that draws tourists interested in history.

"This tells our history of how the coast was formed, how the seafood industry played a large part in forming our entire gulf coast. And of course everyone knows we were once the seafood capital of the world," said museum director, Robin Krohn.

Jim and Lynn Allred knew nothing about hurricanes until the Salt Lake City residents watched the museum video about Camille.

"It's an experience we don't have in the mountains. We've heard about hurricanes, but never seen that. The effects. The documentation of the effects of the storm," said Jim Allred.

One shining example of that connection between history and tourism is the historic Biloxi lighthouse. It's said that landmark is among the most photographed sites in the entire South.

By Steve Phillips

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