September 20, 2016

Erin Kenna

Public/Media Relations Manager


Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast Awarded at 2016 Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Natchez, Miss. Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast (VMGC), the official destination marketing organization for South Mississippi, received Tourism Office of the Year for budgets exceeding $750,000 and Social Media Strategy of the Year on Tuesday, September 20, at the 2016 Governor’s Conference on Tourism hosted by the Mississippi Tourism Association. These awards add to the organization’s recent recognition of Tourism Office of the Year Shining Example Award by the Southeast Tourism Society.

Winners are selected by a panel of industry peers based on programs implemented, notable accomplishments throughout the year and other factors proving how the nominee is a valuable asset to the Mississippi tourism industry.

VMGC took home a third award from Visit Mississippi for its research through a 2015 Mississippi Gulf Coast Awareness and Image Study, published in February 2016. The destination's advertising campaign significantly improved the intent to visit the Mississippi Gulf Coast, with 254,000 trips in the short-term, with the intention of up to 485,000 trips in the next 12 months. 

“Our team strives to find innovative and unique ways to engage travelers, from enlisting influencers and writers to help tell our story to creating events during the slower traveler seasons on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We’re honored to accept both awards and share these exciting accomplishments with our partners and communities,” said Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast (VMGC) Executive Director Renée Areng.

June 1, 2015 through May 31, 2016 was filled with victories for VMGC, including: establishing a localized social media campaign, aimed to encourage residents and visitors to share their #MSCoastLife; a complete overhaul of the organization’s website,; creation and implementation of a regional hospitality training program, Coast Champions; further development of the area’s culinary culture through, a hub for locals and visitors alike to explore and engage; a partnership with Google Maps through the Google Trekker program to virtually put the region on the map; an announcement of an inaugural coast‐wide running fest; and a framework for the future with studies conducted regarding visitor perceptions and sports facilities.

About Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast

Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast is an organization charged with promoting South Mississippi as a tourism and convention destination worldwide. Its mission centers on attracting ever-increasing numbers of leisure, convention, sports and business visitors to the area. It is dedicated to maximizing the travel and tourism industry for South Mississippi.

For more information about Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast, visit For more info about MTA or Mississippi tourism, visit or