Gulfport Biloxi, Mississippi Area Has Gone Through A Lot
By Scott A. Sumner
Southern hospitality, fishing, eco tours, golfing, gambling and miles of white sand beach. Thats what you can experience on a trip to Mississippi. The Mississippi Gulf Coast has 300 holes of Championship Golf, 24 hour gaming with 11 casinos of world class entertainment, 26 miles of white sand beach and so much history for you to explore.
Mississippi has two additional casinos set to open in 2009 including the $700 million Jiffy Buffet Margaretville. Charter fishing in Mississippi means 200 species to catch. There are 21 golf course by Palmer, Davis Love, Jerry Pate, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio and more. Walter Anderson one of brothers has world class art exhibits. There is the Mad Potter of Biloxi for which famous architect Frank Geary is designing a new campus at this time. A $50
million expansion to the international gulfport Airport is finished and a $2.4 million parking garage to provide 1200 spaces is underway. Also $40 million of new airport hotels, the Marriott and Hiltonadding are adding 343 additional rooms. 9 air carriers provide 12
cities with direct flights each day. In short there is a lot happening on the Gulf Coast!
When the storm hit 2 12 years ago we eliminated several blocks leaving no points of reference. Since then a tremendous amount of progress has been made. The casinos can now move inland up to 800 feet and it has improved the campus for this area. The casinos
previously had to be on the water.They had the opportunity to not come back but the casinos are back in operation along with a great number of condos. Mississippi is open for business! smiles Steve Martin, Program Manager Mississippi Development and Tourism. At
first they thought Mississippi would support 2 or 3 casinos but now there are 11 with 2 more coming. A small part of the state was damaged geographically( 15%) but 30% of our income was derived from this area.
The Beau Rivage was $800 million and have continued to improve the property with a $550 million renovation. There are also two land based casinos in Philadelphia, Mississippi. We are number three in the US behind Las Vegas and Atlantic City, Janice Jones Manan Media
Relations. The industry started with a splash that reminded of an 18 wheeler in size and you had to pay $10 to enter. We are now the same quality of Las Vegas. We have the A list entertainment coming here.In Natchez, Mississippi a city of 18,000 we have $130 million of
development coming on including hotels as well as casinos.
We will have more homes rebuilt as they are waiting on insurance, grant money and the new regulations as well as having the contactors to be less busy. The land for the condohotels was purchased before but now they have to go back to the drawing board to make them
hurricane resistant to lower their insurance costs, noted Steve Martin. We have a lot of snowbirds that come from Canada each year including those that came down to help after the storm. They are vested in our community. We are close to Mobile or New Orleans as
well. It is a good hub and spoke.What your dollar will buy here is much more than in the North for those retiring etc.In is unfortunate everything that happened with the storm but when
you have a clean slate to work with the potential is great to become a tier 1 destination.
The Canadians came down with 3 battle ships some 25 miles off the coast and were unbelievable helpful during the storm clean up. They got out in school buses and spread out, some 50 to 60 Canadians to help, said Bill Holmes, Executive Director of the Gulf Coast
Convention Centre. We are here every storm as a facility of last resort. We werent anticipating 7 feet of water in the facility so we moved everyone to the second floor of the arena. The water came in and blew out doors and windows. The glass would fall in the centre of the floor. The eye of the storm was coming just to the west but the Northeastern quadrant was the hardest hit. The intensity of the wind and water was very destructive. We had set up for a dinner in the
convention with white table cloth and had two large sea mammals floating in amongst them. It was a surreal image.