December 19, 2014 at 5:25 AM CST - Updated July 25 at 1:05 PM
SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX)
If you were wondering what those new signs posted on traffic lights along Highway 90 with the shrimp and numbers on them are, you're not alone. The new signs are certainly attracting a lot of attention on the Coast. As WLOX News found out, the way finding signs are all about directing tourists to restaurants and attractions in South Mississippi.
"Thank you for calling Mississippi's West Coast. This is Jane. Oh, you've heard about the shrimp," said a Hancock County Tourism Bureau employee as she answered the phone on her desk.
The phones have been ringing off the hook at tourism bureaus, city halls and police departments all over the Coast ever since the round, blue signs with the little shrimp on them started going up two days ago.
"It will make finding Tony's and all of the other restaurants so much easier," said the tourism worker to the person on the other end of the phone line.
Curiosity about the way finding signs has gotten the best of a lot of drivers.
"I have no clue," said one driver.
"I saw number two down there by Walmart. I was wondering what they are," said another.
"I'm pretty curious actually, because I know the one over there says three," remarked the third driver WLOX NEWS stopped.
"I've seen them from Pass Christian to all the way here in Waveland," said the fourth driver.
The way finding signs will actually span the entire Coast. They start in Waveland in Hancock County and will run through Jackson County.
They are part of a new tourism brochure and map put out by the Gulf Coast Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau. They are designed to help tourists locate restaurants and attractions on the Coast.
"A new dinning and attraction guide has been put out by the Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau. These are way finding signs where they can take these brochures and find where to go to the different restaurants and attractions that they want to visit," said Myrna Green, Manager of Hancock County's Tourism Bureau.
Numbers on the signs correlate with the numbers found inside of the brochure.
"They can use that number to find what is located in that area," said Green.
The curious drivers have brought an unexpected bonus to the tourism project.
"It's going to have a benefit that maybe we didn't envision. It has created a lot of local interest, so now we have an opportunity to train our local people to be a tourist in their own town," explained Green.
She says it's also an opportunity to turn locals into tourism guides for our out of state visitors.
The brochures are being made available at welcome centers and visitors centers all over the Coast. Harrison County Supervisor Connie Rockco brought the sign idea to the Regional Tourism Board after seeing it done in Florida.