Does The Coast Need A Bigger Convention Center? - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Does The Coast Need A Bigger Convention Center?

"There's millions of people out there that are meeting every year and flying across the county, and it's a billion dollar industry," Coast Coliseum Director Bill Holmes said. "I feel like we can get more if we had bigger space."

That's why Holmes says he wants a study done on what it will take to expand the Coliseum and Convention Center . As evidence for the need, he says in the last three weeks two groups have taken up all the space at the convention center and could have used more.

"Next year, we have some really close calls where a convention moves out at noon and another convention is moving in at 5, so we have many of this deals where we have to adjust."

A BankTravel convention held on the Coast brought in 650 people from across the country for three days and two nights. This is considered a big convention.

Holmes says each year, the coliseum brings in up to 12 major groups, bringing thousands of dollars to the coast.

"Look at what it's going to do for the Coast. It's going to drive the airport, the restaurants, the hotels. It's going to drive cabs. It goes on and on and on."

"We have enough hotel rooms now for a large convention, but our convention center isn't big enough for quote 'large conventions,' " hotel executive Asher Travis said.

Organizers say this is the biggest turn-out for a BankTravel-type meeting. They think it's because a lot of people wanted to visit and do business here on the Coast.

"That tells you again destination," Holmes said. "We've got it, and people want to come. Now we just need to have the facilities and infrastructure into place to make them happy, and they'll go out talk about us and come back."

By Miyoka Broussard

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