Cruisin' The Coast Wraps Up With A Great Economic Impact

The count is in for this year's parade of classic cruisers on the coast.

"We had 3,842 cars this year from 30 states and Canada, and we're just excited about it," said Gene Oswalt, Event Director.

In 2006, Oswalt says 3,400 vintage cars rolled through the coast.

He says this year's totals do not include the estimated 1,000 cars that were not registered.

"It's the only special event in the state that incorporates three counties, six or seven cities and 550 volunteers without whom we couldn't even think about having this event," said Oswalt.

As car enthusiasts cruise in from across the country, it means more money for the Gulf Coast and the state, according to the Director Of State Tourism, Craig Ray.

"They stay 3 to 5 days.  They stay in hotels and restaurants and spend on average of anywhere from $100 to $200 a day.  The numbers add up very quickly," said Craig Ray, Director of State Tourism.

The economic impact of such a large-scale event goes beyond 6 figures.

"The impact will be several million dollars," said Ray.

Event organizers say local restaurants stayed packed as cruisers took a break to eat.

Workers at Edgewater Inn in Biloxi, said the beachfront hotel was completely sold out all week. Both The Edgewater Inn and The Bayfront Inn say they're already sold out for 2008.

Oswalt says the success of Cruisin' The Coast boils down to the support car enthusiasts from across America continue to show each year.

"The car community is just a real loyal community.  We had a fun time putting the show on for them," said Oswalt.

810 cars are already pre-registered for next year. Pre-Katrina, 900 cars typically pre-registered.