Gazebo Gazette

With the summer season in full swing, the tri-county coastal region is experiencing a major rise in visitation, and a vast increase in 2021 tourism numbers. Coastal Mississippi, the destination marketing organization (DMO) for the State’s tri-county coastal region, is reporting that tourism numbers for the first five months of 2021 are higher or beginning to surpass those of the previous four years.

Year-to-date, Room Revenue has jumped from $119 million in 2018 and $124 million in 2019 to $138 million as of May 2021, which, among other key performance indicators, reflects the increase in Average Daily Rate (ADR) from $79.59 in 2018 to $90.70 in 2021. Occupancy for the first five months of 2021 is at 68.93%, which reflects a successful recovery from the challenges faced in the past two years.

“This significant increase in tourism numbers serves as an important benchmark for the progress of our recovery as a destination,” said Coastal Mississippi CEO, Milton Segarra. “As travel trends continue to demonstrate increased interest and willingness to take leisure trips in the upcoming months, Coastal Mississippi is looking at a very prosperous summer season as a whole, and with plans and strategic partnerships in place to maximize visitation to this region, Coastal Mississippi expects to see continued tourism successes well into the fall and beyond. As we continue to elevate our destination, working together is the key to bringing more visitors to Coastal Mississippi. The increased numbers that we are seeing across the region speak for themselves, and we look forward to building on this momentum.”

Tourism is the lifeblood of Mississippi’s tri-county coastal region, but despite the indelible impact of COVID-19 on the industry, Coastal Mississippi continues to see successes and growth.

Mississippi was the top travel spending market in the U.S. in 2020, and, as Coastal Mississippi accounts for at least one-third of the state’s tourism employees, expenditures, and taxes, this places Coastal Mississippi as one of the highest performing destinations in the nation last year.

In that same year, several major tourism developments opened their doors to visitors to the Secret Coast, including Mississippi Aquarium, Hotel Legends, and Pearl Hotel along with on-site restaurants Thorny Oyster and Smoke.

“As the new attraction on the Gulf Coast, we have been extremely pleased with our attendance numbers,” said Kurt Allen, Mississippi Aquarium CEO. “Mississippi Aquarium has exceeded all expectations and has welcomed guests from all over the country especially the Midwest and Southeast corridors. The Secret Coast is no longer a secret!”

“When we opened Hotel Legends during the pandemic, there was a lot of unpredictability,” said Tessy Lambert, Chief Marketing Officer at Lodging & Leisure Investments, LLC. “If our last eight months are an indicator of the future, I can say with certainty that the desire to travel to Coastal Mississippi is alive and well.”

“I never would have imagined the amount of tourist influx and buzz surrounding our little town,” said Jeffrey Hansell, Chef/Owner of Thorny Oyster and Smoke in Bay St. Louis. “I guess I always took it for granted since I grew up here, but after moving away and coming back, it’s obvious what draws them all here. People from all over the Southeast and locals alike seemed to have figured it out because we pack them in every night. And it’s not just us, the whole area is seeing it.”

Coastal Mississippi will be releasing its Annual Report in September and continues in its endeavors to promote The Secret Coast and welcome many more visitors to discover the #MSCoastLife.