Coast hotels, tourism officials hoping for busy holiday weekend despite pandemic

Updated: Jun. 30, 2020 at 7:25 AM CDT
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SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Despite the ongoing pandemic, busy beaches and booked hotel rooms are signs that tourism is picking up on the Coast.

Milton Segarra with Coastal Mississippi weighed in on why visitors are drawn to spending their summer in South Mississippi.

“The beach has been one of the number one assets that people are visiting. They feel relaxed. They feel at ease. There’s space and they don’t feel the crowds that you see in other places,” said Segarra.

Fresh off the heels of Scrapin’ the Coast, South Mississippi’s hotels are looking forward to staying booked for the Fourth of July weekend.

“We believe the economic recovery for the Coast... the tourism industry will be a key indicator,” said Segarra.

The Mississippi Hotel and Lodging Association said bookings at Coast hotels are doing well, even as some hotels operate at limited capacity to allow social distancing for guests.

Coastal Mississippi calls this the Destination Promise.

“All of our vendors, hotels, partners, have taken the necessary measures protecting themselves and protecting our visitors, and that creates a sense of comfort and safety to our visitors,” said Segarra.

Some hotels aren’t seeing an uptick in visitors. Management at the Econolodge says summer events and holiday weekends help, but bookings could be better.

The Coast Tourism Board expects a greater influx of guests who live within driving distance looking for an easy getaway.

“That driving market, one to three hours, sometimes four, right now are looking for places to come. They have found in Coastal Mississippi the right balance. They feel secure, they feel safe,” said Segarra.

Tourism officials tell us numbers for this weekend’s crowds will be released later this week.

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