Terrorist Attacks Impact Tourism

Terrorism fears couldn't keep thousands of classic car lovers from traveling to the Coast.  "They've just come in because they do have a feeling of safety and it's a great destination. Cruisin' the Coast is a great example of what impact this is gonna have on us in the near future," says Coliseum Director Bill Holmes.

Other tourism leaders say there has been a slow upswing in business, after the initial drop off. Tourism Director Steve Richer says, "Since we're a drive market, since we're considered as safe, people felt comfortable coming here if they wanted to do something of a recreational nature because it was easy to get to and the comfort level is very high."  So is their satisfaction level according to a travel industry study. Richer says it shows that for the last two quarters, the Mississippi Coast scored a 99-percent satisfaction rating. "I think that's a reflection of the people who are here who are so friendly. People want good service first of all and that's part of the inbred and culture of the Mississippi Gulf Coast so that comes across very strong in the surveys."

Richer says other attractions such as the beach, great food and golf are the Coast's strong points. Still, other says bouncing back after the attacks will be a challenge. "We were already looking at a fall quarter and we had some concerns and we were looking at ways to increase the business. Now with what has happened of course it compounds that concern just as it has for everybody's industry," says Linda Hornsby of the Hotel/Motel Association. Hornsby says one way to address that is through aggressive marketing and advertising to remind visitors that the Mississippi Coast is the place to be.