Your Secret Coast
Fact: On average, 13.5 million visitors flock to Coastal Mississippi every year. Fiction: Their presence has little to no impact on our local and state economies.
With 62 miles of coastline, world-class casino resorts, an array of unique attractions, and countless accommodations, restaurants, and experiences to enjoy, most of those millions of visitors to The Secret Coast are repeat guests. And the visitors to our coastal shores have an indelible impact on our local economies.
Last year’s visitor spending created more than $3.3 billion in economic impact, providing Coastal Mississippi residents over $1600 in tax relief - $1000 more than the state average. Moreover, our three coastal counties account for one third of tourism employees, expenditures, and visitors in the entire state of Mississippi, with tourism being the second largest private sector employer. These key figures only reiterate how vital tourism is to our region, which is why this unprecedented year has hurt in more ways than one.
According to the US Travel Association’s latest report, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in over $376 billion in cumulative losses for the U.S. travel economy since the beginning of March. And with the continual depressed level of travel spending, there has been a loss of $48.3 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenue.
These losses do not go unnoticed. Our tourism partners feel these effects firsthand, rallying together to reiterate how important tourism is to our region. When asked how important tourism is to their business, several partners like Sonny Schindler with Shore Thing Fishing Charters lamented, “Tourism is our business. 100%.” Tess Lambert with Lodging & Leisure Investments whose widespread coastal investments include Margaritaville, Centennial Plaza, The White House Hotel and Hotel Legends said, “There is only way you can state how important tourism is, and it’s vital.”
Despite the many challenges our area has faced throughout the last six months, the resilient nature of our destination and its people has truly shone. Regional healthcare authorities have acted as true heroes to ensure the residents and visitors of Coastal Mississippi stay safe and healthy as we fight an invisible enemy.
“Safety has always been an important consideration, but it became a priority message for Coastal Mississippi as the pandemic reached our shores,” said Coastal Mississippi CEO Milton Segarra. “Our expertise is in destination marketing, not health, so we leaned on the subject matter experts in our region to provide approval for our Destination Promise.”
The mission of Coastal Mississippi, the regional convention and visitor bureau for Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson Counties, centers on attracting leisure, convention, sports and business visitors to the area, and is dedicated to maximizing the travel and tourism industry for South Mississippi. Recognizing a need for a local healthcare partnership, Coastal Mississippi joined forces with Singing River Health System Medical Clinics, Merit Health Biloxi Medical Group and Memorial Hospital Walk-In Clinics to establish a Destination Health Promise. This message aims to promote safe, responsible travel to a region where hospitality partners have implemented all necessary precautions to protect both visitors and industry employees.
In addition to this healthcare partnership, Coastal Mississippi wants its locals to adopt a rally cry of community pride. Without a unified, healthy community, there is no room for tourism. And without tourism, our community loses jobs, income, and tax relief.
Support your Secret Coast.