BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - With algae blooms in the Mississippi Sound and water advisories issued across the Mississippi coastline, hotels are seeing a lot less people coming through the doors than they usually do during the summer tourism months.
According to the Mississippi Hotel and Lodging Association, the number of hotel guests has dropped this summer. However, many hotels are working with tourism officials to draw guests back who may have initially been put off by the warnings.
“The hotels lowered their rate and were able to bring people in that had previously decided not to come or canceled, or both," said Linda Hornsby, executive director of the Mississippi Hotel and Lodging Association.
As Mississippi Hotel and Lodging reports, revenue fell by nearly 37 percent compared to last year. Hotel bookings last weekend were off by 22 percent. Hornsby said the amount of incoming tourists to the Coast has not changed significantly but the lower cost for hotel bookings means lower revenue.
“No tourists; no people out here," said ice cream truck owner Darrell Johnson, motioning towards the beach. “It’s usually packed."
Nekia Owen and her family spent their weekend having a mini family reunion in Biloxi.
“Our plan was to come out, jet-ski and allow the children to play in the sand, but of course, with the situation in the water, we were actually headed to Pensacola," Owen said. “We decided to turn back around to come back to the Coast and actually ended up at Gulf Island Waterpark.”
Visitors made their way to Biloxi Beach, determined to make the most out of their vacations.
“I’m here with my girls on a little girls trip from Atlanta,” said one woman as she prepared to ride the Biloxi Tour Train with friends. She said she was not worried about the water advisory.
“We have alternate plans so we’re just taking it day by day and just going with the flow," she said.
Guests said their hotels have been giving them good options for fun on the Coast.
“We contacted the person where we were staying at," said a woman celebrating her 40th birthda on the Coast. “She gave us the contact information for Ship Island Excursions. It’s beautiful, you can swim in that water. It’s a great, great trip.”
Marvin Scott said he caught up with some of his high school football teammates over the weekend.
“We weren’t able to enjoy the water but we were able to enjoy some casino action, just hanging out."
He said while the situation was not ideal, he was glad South Mississippi has a lot more than its beaches to offer.
“We had a great time. I love the Gulf Coast and we plan on coming back soon," Scott said.
Marine officials have said while water advisories are still in place, the sandy areas of the Coast can still be enjoyed. For more fun things to do, check out GulfCoastWeekend.com!