Conventions are big business for the coast - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Conventions are big business for the coast

(Photo source: file) (Photo source: file)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Coast restaurants and hotels are happy to see the Southern Legislative Conference in town. The business generated by meetings like this underscores the importance of conventions to the Mississippi Coast. 

Hundreds of state leaders have been meeting at the convention center for the four-day Southern Legislative Conference. Elected officials and their families stay at hotels, see the sights, and eat at local restaurants. 

Cono Caranna, who's company owns Margaritaville and the Whitehouse Hotel, said big groups like this are important to the hospitality business. 

"About half our rooms at Margaritaville were booked, and the Whitehouse saw a good response as well. Anything that brings groups to the coast is obviously good for the coast," said Caranna.

Over at Mary Mahoney's in Biloxi, Bobby Mahoney has seen impressive traffic. A usually slow Monday night was anything but quiet. 

"A Monday night in August and it's the busiest night of the year, come on," Mahoney said. 

Conventions like the SLC create an environment where everyone in the industry benefits. There is a tremendous trickle-down effect.

"It's very important to my servers and my kitchen staff, getting overtime and things like that. It's big," according to Mahoney.

The casino sector of South Mississippi tourism has an established clientele that brings visitors year round.

National, regional, and state conventions provide an opportunity for hotels, restaurants, and local attractions to reach out to a broader base.

"Anything outside of gaming is big to build off of. We already have our base for gaming, but families here at Margaritaville, anything with state groups or anything else that don't come here normally, it's great to add to our base," Caranna said

Tourism leaders on the coast are being proactive on bringing more conventions to the coast.

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