MS welcome center employees tour Ocean Springs to experience wha - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

MS welcome center employees tour Ocean Springs to experience what they promote to tourists

The Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce took welcome center employees on a whirlwind tour of the city Tuesday. (Photo source: WLOX) The Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce took welcome center employees on a whirlwind tour of the city Tuesday. (Photo source: WLOX)
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -

Those who work at Mississippi welcome centers are often the state's ambassadors of tourism. That's why workers were in Ocean Springs on Tuesday for the chance to experience for themselves some of the attractions they encourage tourists to visit. 

The Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce took welcome center employees on a whirlwind tour of the city. Officials said the idea behind the FAM tour is that when people can talk about what they've experienced, they can make a better pitch to get tourists to come here. 

Just a few months ago, Torria Dale opened her pottery supply store in Ocean Springs. One thing she does at Sunburnt Ceramic and Supply is teach people how to make beautiful artwork. 

"It's hard to believe that it's as easy as it is, but it really is," said Dale. "But people might not believe it unless they hear about it first hand." 

Making pottery was just one part of a hands on learning tour. Ladies from the state welcome centers in Jackson, Pearl River, and Hancock counties also stopped by restaurants, shops, and attractions. 

Sean Sutton of the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce said, "Because Ocean Springs has a lot to offer from food, we're a culinary destination. We're also an arts destination with a lot of nature. We have a lot of natural assets in Ocean Springs. A lot of great outdoor activities." 

"If you don't get down this way much, because we're from further up the Coast, then you don't really have that experience to tell them," said Laura Ladner of the Pearl River County Welcome Center. "So this gives me the opportunity to be hands on and see what there is. That way I can go back and tell them from a first hand experience 'Yes, I've actually been there. Yes, I've actually done this and it's a great place to go.'" 

The Welcome Center employees say it's important they stay up on the latest happenings.. 

"I've been doing these tours for about 20 years coming back and forth into Ocean Springs. Each and every time that I've come here I've seen something different," said Bobbie Tate of the Hancock County Welcome Center. "It's so important for us because Ocean Springs is one of the areas we focus in on and let our tourists know some of the things that we have to offer."

The Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce officials said they also ask welcome center employees about the top questions they get from tourists. They say that helps them create the kinds of events that visitors want.  

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