BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) -With little more than one week until the July Fourth weekend, the tourism season on the Gulf Coast is in full swing. However, with recent beach water closures, tourism officials are worried that our yearly visitors might look elsewhere for their summer fun.
“We have the beach, but we have so much more to offer,” said Coastal Mississippi CEO Milton Segarra. His message is clear - the beach isn’t the only offering available to guests that vacation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
“We are encouraging people to maintain their vacation plans," Segarra said. "To come here, maybe take a sunset sail but also enjoy our gaming, our entertainment.”
Segarra said that while this environmental issue is not good for business, it’s nothing new.
“We are a warm weather destination. We are in the Gulf of Mexico; this happens. Last year it was Florida, this year it’s us. This is something that will go away in a week, maybe two," Segarra told WLOX.
This message is for locals and visitors alike.
“This a matter of all of us, our community. It’s important that all of us at this moment that we - number one - take the measures and precautions to you and your family, but enjoy the rest of the Coastal Mississippi offerings," Segarra said. “This is exactly why we are Coastal Mississippi because we’re more than the beach; we’re more than that. We can offer a compelling experience not only to us who live here but as well to the people that have decided to come and visit us in the next few days.”
With those visitors due to arrive soon, Segarra said we may not be able to completely avoid an impact.
“Maybe we’ll get an impact, a little bit," Segarra said. “But the fact of the matter is that the resilience and all of the assets that the we have as a destination will help us to get through it and, for the next week or so, people will discuss that, and we will bring the right information and the right type of experiences that we can offer,” Segarra said.
The right information that Segarra said starts with residents of The Secret Coast.
“What I think we, as people who live here and are in charge of this community," Segarra told WLOX. "Explain to your visitors, explain to your family, explain to your friends what is really happening so that once they understand, they will continue visiting us.”