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Of Mississippi's 82 counties, Coastal Mississippi alone accounts for one-third of the state's tourism employees, expenditures and taxes.

However, the impact of our tourism industry goes well beyond just facts and figures. In honor of National Travel and Tourism Week, meet the faces behind some of your favorite stops along The Secret Coast.

COVID-19 Partner Update

Sunday, May 3, began National Travel and Tourism Week, which arrives at an opportune moment to unite our industry, celebrate its indomitable spirit, and elevate the role it will play in America’s economic recovery. This annual celebration of the contributions and accomplishments of the U.S. travel industry spotlights resilience and hope in the face of the coronavirus pandemic with this year’s theme: The Spirit of Travel. The spirit of travel isn’t only found in far-off places. When residents embrace the spirit of travel by supporting local businesses and helping their neighbors, they are also playing a key role in rebuilding their community—and America.

The road map to recovery
Our organization and partner agencies have been developing strategic plans to re-enter the market, planning for recovery and beyond. Coastal Mississippi hopes to begin marketing and encouraging travel to our destination soon, but re-entry into the market will ultimately depend on the many factors influencing travel behavior. When the time is right, we will leverage our brand positioning and messaging in a post-COVID climate to welcome visitors back to Coastal Mississippi as people across the country begin to embrace travel once again.
 
We have developed a road map to re-entry that will guide us. This plan consists of four phases, which include:

  • Wait – Bracing for what the future holds
  • Acclimate – Adjusting to a partially opened America (Mississippi along with several other states are entering this phase)
  • Consider – Experimenting with travel planning
  • Escape – Travel industry & America fully open
As we enter each new phase, we will have completed a strategic process to develop an appropriate plan based on the following:
  • Current state of the crisis and how it is impacting travel
  • Traveler attitudes
  • Communication objectives
  • Most important point to communicate
  • Call to action

Throughout each of these phases, it is critical that we continue to monitor and understand our audience. It is important to not only understand travelers’ behavior but also their psyches to target based on psychology (identifying consumers willing to and ready to travel immediately) versus audience segments. Through the data and insights, we will better understand why they seek travel, including opportunities for connection, productivity, well-being, entertainment, escape, personal improvement, and we will be able to connect with our audiences to address how Coastal Mississippi can uniquely satisfy their needs through the destination experience and emotional pillars of our brand.

As a brand, we have a solid foundation for times like this – Coastal Mississippi offers over 60 miles of attractions, towns and shorelines that are equal parts relaxing and invigorating. The region delivers open-ended experiences that delight with a welcoming spirit, and plenty of room to roam. Most importantly, now is the time to let optimism shine through and offer messaging that stays true to our brand purpose – an experience that sticks with you, reminiscent of a home – home unbound.
 
As we begin marketing our destination again, we will need to continuously refine our tempo, sentiment, and messaging. We must stay true to our brand and listen to what our audience is telling us. Please find more information in our latest webinar recording by clicking the button below, or view the presentation deck here.

Click to Listen to Our Latest Partner Update

Our team has reached out to partners from every vertical of our industry, from gaming and restaurateurs to attractions and hoteliers, to gather feedback related to our destination's re-entry plan. We thank you for your time and engagement as we work to build out the most comprehensive and effective approach possible. 

With guidance from healthcare officials, we are developing a Destination Promise to help allay any health-related concerns travelers may have as they consider a visit to Coastal Mississippi. We will share more information about this soon as we leverage information from health authorities and other guiding sources such as U.S. Travel Association's Industry Guidance for Promoting the Health and Safety of All Travelers. We encourage you to utilize the business readiness resources we have provided below as you consider your own messaging strategy.

We understand that our community is facing new challenges each day, and Coastal Mississippi is here to support our partners in the tourism and hospitality industry in their efforts as we rise up to our challenges together. We thank every single member of this wonderful community for everything they do to make our beautiful Secret Coast so special, and we truly believe that our strong community will emerge from this with an unmatched power to heal and rebuild together. 

We are Coastal Mississippi.

Milton Segarra, CDME
Coastal Mississippi CEO

COVID-19 Business Readiness Resources

On Friday, April 24, Governor Reeves signed a "safer at home" order that will remain in place through May 11. Social distancing is still strongly encouraged and businesses that cannot avoid personal contact are closed. Entertainment and amusement businesses such as casinos, theaters, bars and museums are still closed. 

Starting today, May 7, Gov. Reeves announced that he will allow restaurants to offer limited in-house dining and larger outdoor gatherings of 20 or less. 
Restaurants will be allowed to open indoor and outdoor dining as long as they meet the requirements outlined by the updated order, which can be found here

Our team has developed helpful resources as you work to ready your place of business when the time is right to reopen. We encourage you to continue leaning on the expert guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Mississippi State Department of Health

The following COVID-19 business readiness resources can be found on our COVID-19 Business Readiness Page:

We hope this information helps in your messaging plan development as we look forward to welcoming visitors back to The Secret Coast, when the time is right. 
Access COVID-19 Business Readiness Resources Here

We’re delighted to invite you to join us for our Grow with Google workshop, a free Google-hosted event for industry partners in Coastal Mississippi. 

Within this live webinar, you will learn about Google My Business, a free tool for local businesses that want to connect with customers on Google Search and Maps. Get (virtual) hands-on help in creating or updating your business profile or a simple website. 

We hope you will join us. Spots are limited, so RSVP today here

Join us in honoring the #SpiritOfTravel May 3-9 for
National Travel and Tourism Week. 

The coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency is having an unprecedented impact on the travel industry and the entire economy. Now more than ever, the travel and tourism community must come together, support each other and remind our country that even through the most difficult times, the Spirit of Travel cannot be broken

Coastal Mississippi is encouraging its partners across the region to contribute to the conversation and highlight the importance of the industry throughout the week, using the hashtag #MSCoastLife. A full messaging and social media toolkit can be found here

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Copyright © 2020 Coastal Mississippi, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
2350 Beach Blvd., Suite A
Biloxi, MS 39531

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