Tourism officials get low down on big 2016 numbers - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Tourism officials get low down on big 2016 numbers

Clay Wagner, left, board president of Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast, and executive director Renee Areng hope the big 2016 numbers will continue to grow. Clay Wagner, left, board president of Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast, and executive director Renee Areng hope the big 2016 numbers will continue to grow.
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Big tourism numbers for South Mississippi. 2016 was a very good year.

Thursday, the board of directors of Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast got a chance to see what hard work can do.

The numbers speak for themselves: 6.2 million people traveled to the coast last year. They spent almost $2 billion. That translated into more than 30,000 hospitality-related jobs.

Board president Clay Wagner was impressed.

“It took a great bit of effort, a good bit of time to get all three counties to come together as one entity representing all three of those counties, and market our area as one big community,” Wagner said.

He likes what this means for the future.

“If we just keep going at the run rate we're going at, we will be phenomenally successful,” Wagner added. “I’m not really sure to be looking at improving them, I’m looking at let’s just keep doing what we’re doing.”

This was also the first tourism meeting since spring break. While the overall economic impact of the event is not yet known, Renee Areng said she’s hearing some good things.

“The response has been positive,” Areng said. “What we’re hoping is that they come down for this promoted event and then they'll come back with their friends and family. That’s always the overall goal.”

Hard numbers are coming in from the Mississippi Hotel and Lodging Association for the spring break weekend. Occupancy was at almost 89 percent. That’s up 2 percent from last year. The average daily rate increased about $20 per room, and hotel inventory was up 6 to 8 percent.

While the event had plenty of fans, Donna Brown, General Manager of Gulf Hills Hotel in Ocean Springs, was not one.

“My compadres in the hotel industry, the ones that I have talked to, were not real happy,” Brown said. “Yes, they had spring breakers, but they also had a lot of problems within the properties within themselves.”

But, Brown said she benefited indirectly. Her hotel was filled with people who wanted to be on the coast, but didn't want to participate in spring break.

“We’re not a jump and run to the beach. We are not a jump and run with something in your hand, alcohol. Our guests come because the environment,” said Brown.

Copyright 2017 WLOX. All rights reserved.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • Hope Outdoors holds inaugural fishing trip for disabled in Biloxi

    Hope Outdoors holds inaugural fishing trip for disabled in Biloxi

    Saturday, October 21 2017 11:42 AM EDT2017-10-21 15:42:31 GMT
    15 participants and their families were given a free fishing trip courtesy of Hope Outdoors. (Photo source: WLOX News)15 participants and their families were given a free fishing trip courtesy of Hope Outdoors. (Photo source: WLOX News)

    For some disabled children and adults, finding accommodations for everyday activities can be difficult. One non-profit aims to help people with special needs explore the great outdoors.

    More >>

    For some disabled children and adults, finding accommodations for everyday activities can be difficult. One non-profit aims to help people with special needs explore the great outdoors.

    More >>
  • Ocean Springs Blues Trail Marker honors Jaimoe Johnson

    Ocean Springs Blues Trail Marker honors Jaimoe Johnson

    Friday, October 20 2017 6:23 PM EDT2017-10-20 22:23:51 GMT
    The newest Mississippi Blues Trail marker in Ocean Springs honors Jaimoe Johnson, drummer with the Allman Brothers Band.The newest Mississippi Blues Trail marker in Ocean Springs honors Jaimoe Johnson, drummer with the Allman Brothers Band.

    Ocean Springs has the blues. On Friday, it became the third Jackson County city to be honored with a Mississippi Blues Trail Marker.

    More >>

    Ocean Springs has the blues. On Friday, it became the third Jackson County city to be honored with a Mississippi Blues Trail Marker.

    More >>
  • Moss Point recognized as Mississippi's 'healthiest hometown'

    Moss Point recognized as Mississippi's 'healthiest hometown'

    Friday, October 20 2017 4:47 PM EDT2017-10-20 20:47:22 GMT
    The city applied for the title, which came with a health expo and a $50,000 grant. (Photo source: WLOX)The city applied for the title, which came with a health expo and a $50,000 grant. (Photo source: WLOX)

    Moss Point is celebrating its health prowess after being named as the healthy hometown in Mississippi.

    More >>

    Moss Point is celebrating its health prowess after being named as the healthy hometown in Mississippi.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly