A round of golf and a stay at a South Mississippi hotel. Tourism leaders use those amenities to attract visitors to the area.
Many people believe a new court ordered agreement between the Gulf Coast Golf Association and the Gulf Coast Hotel and Lodging Association will make the coast even more attractive.
According to Gulf Coast Hotel and Lodging Association attorney Craig Caesar, the court ordered agreement is something "that is going to be good for tourism and good for golf."
On Tuesday, the two associations spent several hours in courthouse conference rooms. Each side debated whether they should agree to a golf package compromise, or whether they should let a judge settle their differences.
By reaching the compromise, golf courses took over the promotional side of golf packages. Gulf Coast Golf Association attorney Jess Dickinson said his clients also agreed to pay a fee that builds up an advertising budget specifically for golf. "We think through the administration of that fee and other funds that we intend to get from the tourism commission and from other sources, we're going to be in a position to properly promote this product," Dickinson said, "because it's very important to the coast that we do that."
Hotels agreed to book rooms, and be responsible for the vouchers that their golf package guests use. "We're going to continue to perform that administrative function," said Caesar, "because the golf association recognizes that it's a function that we conduct well, and so we're going to be doing that. They're going to be participating in the marketing efforts to promote golf on the gulf coast and that's going to be good for all of us."
Because of the new partnership, the two sides expect to see a 15%-20% bump in golf package sales.
The deal also sets up a new golf package advertising committee. According to the attorneys, four golf pros and four hotel executives will serve on the committee. They'll come up with the marketing strategies that attract golfers to South Mississippi.