On Monday, March 11th, Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast – the tourism marketing organization for the state’s three coastal counties along the Gulf of Mexico – hosted an event for the tourism community to unveil a new name and new ad campaign designed to capitalize on today’s top tourism trends.
Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast will now be known as Coastal Mississippi, a new trend for destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs) to brand themselves as more destination-focused.
“Coastal Mississippi speaks to who we are and what we offer as a region,” said Coastal Mississippi CEO Milton Segarra, CDME. “Coast is the place where the water meets the land, but coastal encompasses the beaches, the water and the land beyond.”
Segarra explained that the distinction is an important one in highlighting the region’s main competitive advantage. The Coastal Mississippi experience includes the miles of coastal communities stretching along and north of the beaches – offering charming small towns, attractions and activities, diverse natural resources and a rich, authentic culture where visitors can feel right at home.
Coastal Mississippi will debut to the world with a new ad campaign called “The Secret Coast,” which focuses on the region’s largely undiscovered riches and was designed to appeal to a specific travel trend.
With 55 percent of frequent travelers saying they primarily travel to discover new experiences, cultures, lifestyles, food and places and regularly using terms like “hidden gem,” “undiscovered” and “unexpected,” Coastal Mississippi is perfectly poised to surprise and delight. The campaign showcases the fact that the region has all the relaxation, adventure and variety that travelers want without the overexposure that they don’t.
“Everyone in Coastal Mississippi has had the same experience when friends or family come to visit,” said Segarra. “Their guests are amazed at the beauty and variety of the region and often remark ‘I didn’t know all of this was here!’ We love sharing that experience with visitors. It may be a secret, but it’s a secret made all the richer by sharing it.”
Last November, Segarra announced that in 2017, a record 13.5 million people visited the destination. During that year, the market saw an 11 percent increase in enplanements and deplanements at its Gulfport airport, as well as increases across the board in rooms sold, occupancy and occupancy tax receipts, average daily rate and casino revenue.
Coastal Mississippi is also experiencing a building boom for hotels and attractions.
More than 500 new hotel beds will come online in 2019, which can accommodate new visitors to the region as well as repeat visitors who are finding reasons to extend their stay. The Mississippi Aquarium will also open in Gulfport in late 2019, adding a world‐class aquatic tourism attraction to the destination. In addition, Margaritaville Resort & Family Entertainment Center in Biloxi will undergo a $200 million expansion this year, adding more hotel rooms, restaurants, meeting space and family attractions including an amusement park and water park.
Within the next five years, Coastal Mississippi will see at least 30 new projects developed, amounting to an investment of over $669 million.