Tourism Industry Prepares For Busy Holiday Weekend - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

RAIN CAN'T SPOIL HOLIDAY WEEKEND

Tourism Industry Prepares For Busy Holiday Weekend

It's the final fling of the summer season. Coast casinos, hotels and tourist attractions are getting set for Labor Day weekend.

But this weekend approaches amid concerns about a weakened economy. There's also the threat of rain this weekend, and that could keep visitors away.

Despite those concerns, those in the coast tourism industry are still expecting a busy end of summer. Thousands will point their cars toward the coast this weekend for some holiday relaxation.

The beach will be crowded, provided the weather cooperates. But wet weather doesn't worry the folks at the coast's most visible souvenir shop. Rain may ruin the beach outings, but the weather won't impact souvenir sales at "Sharkheads."

"If the sun's shining, we're hoping for a lot of people. But the rain usually drives people in to shop anyway," Sharkheads employee Ginger Keenum said.

Gambling is also weather-proof entertainment. Folks at Boomtown are counting on a crowded weekend to cap off what's already been a record breaking summer. Chett Harrison says the summer was booming.

"Summer was outstanding. Outstanding. Again, our best summer on record. We increased a couple of months in double digits. So, it's been an outstanding summer for us."

If it does rain, Harrison isn't too worried.

"We'll do well at night. But if it rains we always seem to do a little better during the day. But you know we hope for sunny weather for the tourists, so they'll have a good time on the beaches and come back next year."

Beauvoir is counting on a busy weekend, after a slower than expected summer. Though it's the traditional end of summer holiday, Beauvoir's director says coast tourism is becoming a year round industry.

"This is becoming, in my opinion, less seasonal. We're getting more people to come down for different reasons at different times. So, I think as the years pass those kinds of distinctions are doing to be lost down here," Bob Hawkins said.

Despite the weather and economic forecast, tourism types are still bracing for a busy Labor Day weekend this year.

By Steve Phillips

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