State welcome center representatives tour Ocean Springs to help generate summer tourism
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - The summer heat is here on the Gulf Coast, and for many cities, that means seeing a boost in the local economy from summer tourism.
Ocean Springs is working to increase its tourism as folks plan to travel. Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce welcomed Mississippi welcome center representatives to tour the city and learn about all of the attractions it has to offer.
“So we have representatives from the Jackson County, Hancock County, and Pearl River County welcome centers here with us today, and we’re just touring them around to show them what’s new and different in hopes that they will bring that information back to their welcome centers,” said Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cynthia Sutton. “So as people are passing through from Florida, from Texas, from Louisiana, that they can tell them some of these cool things that are here in Ocean Springs.”
Sutton said it is her job to share what the city has to offer, from new shops in town to the latest hotels.
“This is a major tourism impact for us because they will bring those visitors back to Ocean Springs,” Sutton said. “So it is a big draw for us, it’s a big pull. Ocean Springs is a tourist destination. More than 50% of our business is tourist traffic.”
As traffic picks up in Ocean Springs, Linda Woodworth with the Jackson County welcome center said that traffic will also pick up at centers across the state.
“Last year we were basically closed, so we really had almost zero traffic. It was very hard for us because we’re there every day trying to encourage people and welcome people,” Woodworth said. “Now it’s such a big difference and it’s so happy to see the families are coming back through.”
Woodworth said during COVID-19, the Jackson County welcome center would see about 50 people a day. Woodworth said now that foot traffic has tripled, she and other representatives can interact more from a personal perspective touring cities.
“People will ask you, have you been there? What do you know about this, and it really does help to have that experience and have that knowledge so you can tell them something about it that’s a little personal rather than just say well this is a list of restaurants,” Woodworth said. “We can say we’ve been here, so it does help.”
It will help draw tourists not only to Ocean Springs but the entire Gulf Coast.
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