STATE OPINION: Coast agrees on need for tourism agency

By The Mississippi Press, Pascagoula

Supervisors in Jackson County voted unanimously on Monday to support creating a tourism agency that would promote the entire coast as a single destination. This followed similar votes by Hancock County last week and Harrison County earlier this month. Since the BP oil spill, it has become clear that the three counties would be far better off working together than competing with each another for visitors.
The region’s weakness became even more apparent when BP gave $15 million to help local tourism rebound after the spill. Leery of the various factions along the coast, BP chose to give the money to the state. Understandably, this riled local leaders.
The plan is to have the Harrison County Tourism Commission become the regional agency and provide the initial funding from a county hotel tax. It’s vital, meanwhile, that the private sector also contribute money and be represented on the board.
Supervisors along the coast deserve credit for setting aside their doubts and disagreements in order to agree on the need for regional marketing.
The Mississippi Press, Pascagoula