OTHER OPINION: Regional approach best for tourism development

By Mississippi Press, Pascagoula

The Mississippi coast should soon have one entity and a unified message to market the region as a tourist destination, now that the Legislature executed its part of the plan.
On Friday, the Senate passed House Bill 1716 by a 51-1 vote, sending it to Gov. Phil Bryant for his signature. The House passed it by a vote of 119-1 on March 21.
The bill will transform the Harrison County Tourism Commission into the Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau. A new 15-member governing board will be appointed with representation from Jackson, Harrison and Hancock counties.
Supervisors for the three coastal councils each unanimously passed resolutions in support of the idea, which has been pushed by the Gulf Coast Business Council for many years.
We have also touted the benefits of the regional approach in marketing our vast and varied assets along the coast.
A prime example can be found a week ago with the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, the Champions Tour event contested at Fallen Oak. The tournament has financial backing of a coastwide consortium of sponsors with reach into all three coastal counties, like the junior clinic that was held at Shell Landing in Gautier.
By pooling resources to support the event, everyone gains from the national television exposure as well as on-site networking and hospitality opportunities.
The same principle will operate for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Working together, we can reach our potential as a top tier tourist destination more efficiently.