BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - One of the Coast’s biggest tourism events has been postponed due to coronavirus, leading to vacancy signs at beachfront hotels to light up.
“This year was looking to be one of the best years we’ve had," said event organizer Maurice Bryant. “The weather was panning out to be really great. A lot of people were looking forward to the event, and it’s going to have a big impact on the coast, a big impact on the economy.”
While Bryant is disheartened due to the cancellation, he says safety is most important.
“We’re getting the word out through social media. We’re really pushing hard to let everyone know the event is canceled until further notice,” he said.
The cancellation is now causing attendees to cancel their trips, which is drastically hurting the hotel business.
“Between the blue algae last summer and this, it’s very disheartening. It’s just so frustrating," said Barbara Weiter, the director of operations at Edgewater Inn.
She says she has been taking cancellation calls for weeks.
“Basically, I had three sellout weekends booked for March, and we wound up with just one or two reservations that came in," said Weiter.
The hotel is usually filled to the brim for Spring Break but it isn’t even close right now.
“I have about 18 reservations for this weekend," she said.
Weiter fully expects the trend of cancellations to continue but is hopeful a handful of people will still come to the shores of South Mississippi. Optimism aside it seems vacancy signs will be buzzing across the coast for the foreseeable future.