Sugar Bowl Brings Large Crowd of Tourists to the Coast

The Sugar Bowl kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, but in Mississippi, the tourism industry is already feeling the benefits of the game. Tuesday, News 25 spoke with leaders on the Coast who have been preparing for fans’ arrival. Alabama and Ohio State face off Thursday in the Superdome, but fans are already arriving on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

So many fans have showed up that the Mississippi Hotel and Lodging Association had to add another shuttle to New Orleans for game day. Linda Hornsby of the Mississippi Hotel and Lodging Association says, "We are booking packages, both hotel and bus packages, or if they already have their hotel reservations on the Coast, we are booking them on a bus, and I just within the last five minutes reserved our sixth bus."

While college teams anxiously await their bowl assignments, Hornsby and her team are looking to the matchups, knowing a local school could mean big bucks for the Coast. Hornsby also says, "When at least one of the teams are from the east, we start planning, right that minute we start planning."

The planning goes further than just booking shuttles from Biloxi to New Orleans. Casinos and hotels across the Coast prepare New Year’s Eve blowouts to kick off the celebrations. Shay Smith, Marketing Specialist for Harrah’s Gulf Coast, says, "Not only are we going to have a casino-wide champagne toast at midnight, which we’re really excited to offer our guests, we will also have live entertainment as well at Casino Stage Bar."

Live entertainment will draw crowds and inject a much needed boost into the local economy, especially in the lull before Mardi Gras season. Smith closes, "Right now our hotel is looking fantastic. We’re at full capacity, so we’re expecting a crowded house, which we’re excited about."

Alabama fans are excited for another visit to the Superdome, and this year, they’ll be toasting in hopes of victory.

Categories: Local News, News, Sports

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