Gov. Bryant Holds Annual Tourism Conference in Biloxi

Governor Phil Bryant visited the Coast Tuesday for his annual Governor’s Tourism Conference at the Beau Rivage. The Governor went over the state’s growing tourism numbers and what the state still needs to do to bring in tourists.

The Mississippi tourism industry is worth around $2.8 billion and Governor Bryant thinks that number can grow. That’s why he’s encouraging local tourism bureaus to ask the Mississippi legislature for additional funding this session. Governor Bryant kept the crowd laughing at the Governor’s Tourism Conference in Biloxi.

The Governor’s main goal this week is to encourage local tourism bureaus to speak up to their legislators about receiving more funding. Bryant says, "Well I hope people understand is that what we’re trying to do is grow the income for the State of Mississippi, not take away from it, not ask the legislature to give money that we don’t think we’ll get a return on. When you get a 6 to 1 return, and we’ve been able to do that year in and year out in tourism, you want to continue to invest those dollars not just in tourism, but other needs like education."

Bryant says he’s proud of the state’s tourism industry, pointing out that 21.6 million tourists visited our state last year. Bryant thinks an additional $5 million in funding from the legislature will help develop much needed advertising. Bryant also says, "We’ve got to keep working at it. This is not something that just happens by accident. It’s like any other business, you need to go out and advertise to sell your product."

Over the past year, Bryant and the Mississippi Tourism Association have worked to promote Mississippi’s creative heritage, especially music. Allison Washington, the Music Trails Program Manager for Visit Mississippi, says, "Live music is really important to the State of Mississippi as a whole, being the birth place of America’s music. It’s really important that when we have a lot of people who visit the state and visit the country in Mississippi, we’ve got to have live music seven days a week because that’s what they’re here for."

The Governor believes the tourism industry should focus on Mississippi’s unique culture to draw in more visitors and revenue, bringing music to everyone’s ears. The Mississippi Tourism Association is proud to announce that the Welcome Mississippi website had the most page views this year than any other tourism website in the country.

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