Coast sees tourist increase for Memorial Day Weekend

Coast sees tourist increase for Memorial Day Weekend
(Photo source: WLOX)
(Photo source: WLOX)

MISSISSIPPI SOUND (WLOX) - Memorial Day weekend is moving along full-steam ahead, and for an area like our coast, that should mean big tourist numbers.

According to officials, tourist numbers are up from this time last year. People are out enjoying the sun and staying in the coast's hotels.

"I think it's great, I think it's wonderful right now," said one visitor to the coast.

Out of towners are still making trips to the coast, despite recent water contact advisories.

"As a matter of fact, I got a phone call this morning asking if the beach is open. And I said, yes it's been open for almost a week now," said Sal Nazarali.

Nazarali said bookings at the Super 8 he manages have gone up 10 percent more than last year's Memorial Day Weekend.

"Seen a lot of new faces. A lot of people are telling us that it's their first time here," he said.

Nazarali's seen an increase in visitors from Texas and Florida. Some have been coming for years, like Phyllis Clinton.

"I've been here quite a few times and I'm coming back in a few more weeks," said Clinton.

Clinton loves Biloxi for the beach and the casinos, but she says the coast is lacking in one department.

"Don't come for amusement parks, because you're not going to find one," she said.

She thinks more family activities would be a plus for tourism, and Beverly Martin agrees. Being the executive director of the MS Hospitality and Restaurant Association, Martin and her team are always looking at ways to further the coasts economy.

"We're looking for some more attractions, more family oriented attractions to come in that would help the restaurants and the tourists in general," said Martin.

According to her and Coast Visitors Bureau Executive Director, Renee Areng, diversifying attractions is the key in drawing tourists to our area.

"I think that anytime you have additional activities that all visitors can participate in. The more we can offer, the more people will come," said Areng.

The coast has seen several new restaurants and hotels open in the last year alone. Areng said that's a sign of good things to come.

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