Coastal Mississippi tourism board ready to move forward, president says

The President of the Coastal Mississippi board issued a statement Friday saying all misunderstandings have been resolved and everyone is on board to continue to promote the region.

Controversy struck the board last month when Executive Director Milton Segarra abruptly resigned his position. The move came after the Board of Commissioners questioned Segarra’s compensation package and what he was doing to earn it.

Board President Brooke Shoultz said in her statement emailed to the media that the boards of supervisors of the three coastal counties, along with the tourism commissioners, have cleared the air and all are “100% dedicated to maintaining regional tourism.”

Shoultz went on to say in her statement that the Coastal  Tourism Commission and its staff have a transition plan in place as the search goes on for a new director.

Shoultz’s statement:

South Mississippi’s 3 Coastal Boards of Supervisors and Tourism commissioners have resolved all misunderstandings and are 100% dedicated to maintaining regional tourism. I met face-to-face with representatives from the Hancock, Harrison and Jackson County Boards of Supervisors yesterday to clear up all misunderstandings that were causing unrest. The Coastal Legislative delegation was instrumental in opening lines of communication between counties. The Boards of Supervisors say they regret not meeting sooner during the many months of misinformation and rumors that caused tension and divide.

Coastal Mississippi is a Tri-County organization that shares with the world our ‘secret’ and draws visitors in by the millions to the stunningly beautiful and welcoming Mississippi Gulf Coast. Tourism has always been one of the largest economic engines which accounts for 20% of the state’s total operating budget. Tourism also supports countless local businesses from gas stations and snowball stands to every Casino, restaurant and mom and pop shop.

Coastal Mississippi’s recent success can be attributed to the relentless hard work and dedication of the staff that continues to knock it out of the park each day and, when the City of New Orleans shut down due to COVID, millions of dollars meant for the Big Easy came to the fresh open spaces and beautiful places here. Tourists from dozens of other states and Canada also say they cancelled their airline trips to big cities and drove here instead which also worked to our great advantage.

The Commission is comprised of 15 long-time business, hospitality, and marketing professionals from Jackson, Harrison and Hancock Counties tasked with governing Coastal Mississippi which promotes regional tourism to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and maximizes advertising dollars and global efforts of the organization. Coastal Mississippi is a ‘One Coast’ regional marketing effort established in 2013.

Since its Executive Director’s resignation last month, the Commission and its talented staff have a solid transition plan firmly in place to seamlessly continue sharing with the world our Secret Coast which we are so fortunate to call home.

Coastal Mississippi is solid and strong. All three Coastal counties are family. We’re certainly not divided by a few bridges or misunderstandings.

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