Tourism outlook 2019: Leave a good impression

Tourism Outlook

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -There’s an old saying: you only get one chance to make a good first impression. When it comes to tourism, that impression is critical. In 2018, tourism numbers on the Coast were up. Will that trend continue in the new year? The best people to ask who would know is our visitors.

The Biloxi Visitors Center is a first stop for many of our guests. What brought them to the Coast? Tourist Cory Johnston has an answer.

“The beach. Of course, the lighthouse. I like being able to come there. The good food. It’s calm. It’s peaceful,” Johnston responded.

Coast RV parks were jammed this first day of the year. Those who stay in these homes were thrilled at what we have to offer. One of them is Glenn Dupree.

“We love all the casino action. We love the food, the restaurants. The people are very friendly, and we just have a good time. There’s a group of us that come in our motor homes every year,” he said.

The boardwalk is a perfect place for some family rollerblading. A family from Memphis is glad they came. The dad is Alan Bosworth.

“I was surprised at how white the beaches are and how family friendly it is. We can play out in the water, and the playgrounds, and visit the Visitors Center, and the food has been outstanding. It’s a fabulous place,” Bosworth gushed.

The beach continues to be a major draw for Regina Bratton.

“I said don’t get me anything for Christmas. I want to go to the beach, and so we came to the beach. We just like to walk along the sand, the beaches, and watch the ocean come in and out,” she said.

And of course, that Ocean attracted some first-timers from Colorado, even though we locals know it’s the Mississippi Sound. Sopheak Neou is from the Denver area.

“We came just to check out the resort and the area, the ocean mainly. I like it. It’s really nice,” she said.

Well, it’s not surprising that some of the major attractions on the Coast are the beach, the water and the casinos. But, there is something that might be just a little bit surprising. And that is, how different we are here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

That’s what impressed Carlos Pelaez.

“Well, the first thing I like about it is the diversity of the people. You get to see and witness so many more different cultures. It’s a beautiful place, this history behind it, the history behind the lighthouse,” he explained.

If those good impressions continue, 2019 could be a very successful year.

This Spring, officials with Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast will unveil a new branding effort for the Coast, something that will set us apart and make us unique in the eyes of visitors.

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