July offers plenty of promise for Biloxi

July is traditionally the busiest month of the year for the casino resort industry, and Mayor A.J. Holloway believes this July could be particularly robust, even though the Fourth fell in the middle of a workweek.

“There’s been a good buzz about Biloxi leading up to July and carrying into this first week of the month,” Holloway said. “Of course, there was the opening of Hard Rock, the expansion at Treasure Bay, two fireworks shows, the continuing interest in the market, and the upcoming Roy Jones Jr. boxing match.

“But I think the thing that some people may be overlooking is the impact of the 318 hotel rooms that came online with Hard Rock’s opening.”

Resort hotel rooms, the mayor has said, “are what drives gaming revenue figures, and gaming is what’s driving our market.” When Beau Rivage opened with its 1,800 hotel rooms in March 1999, for example, gaming revenue jumped 35 percent that year, and Biloxi industry analysts say that each new resort hotel room generates 75 new passengers a year at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport.

Said Holloway: “All of this growth leads to more amenities coming back throughout the community, more jobs created, and the revenue helps us make the important quality-of-life improvements that benefit residents and visitors alike.”

To read more about the Biloxi market, in remarks the mayor made a year ago to a group of Wall Street financial analysts, click here.

Weekend events: Plenty of entertainment

The Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau has compiled a list of dozens of weekend events – ranging from concerts (Kid Rock, L.L. Cool J, Vince Vance and the Valiants) professional wrestling, nature hikes, and a special big-screen presentation of “Dr. Strangelove.”

To see the list of things to see and do, click here.

News and notes

Hard Rock opening: The “buzz about Biloxi” is expected to continue Saturday afternoon, when Holloway joins Kid Rock, 3 Doors Down, supermodel Cindy Crawford and Hard Rock executives to formally open the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

Treasure Bay: Meantime, further west on U.S. 90, Treasure Bay Casino Resort this week unveiled its expanded casino and new buffet, and by Labor Day the resort will include more than 240 rooms and suites, a fine-dining restaurant and a lounge.

Biloxi on the air: NBC 15, the Mobile TV affiliate that replaced WDSU in the Cable One lineup, broadcasts from Hard Rock today. The station plans a story on the Biloxi casino resort industry at 5 p.m. and a story on the Biloxi recovery at 6 p.m. One story is expected to include photos of Mayor A.J. Holloway in his Ole Miss football days.

Webcasting: Bay Press Editor Gene Coleman discusses the issues of the day in this week’s “City Desk” webcast. To listen to the 30-minute webcast, click here.

Biloxi Five-O: The Parks and Recreation Department’s monthly Top of the Hill newsletters for seniors outlines a host of programs, including a new Friends Five-O program. To see the July newsletter, click here. To visit the department’s section of the city web site, click here.

Rumble time: The month of July will get another literal shot in the arm on July 14, when IP hosts the Roy Jones Jr.-Anthony Hanshaw boxing match at the Coast Coliseum. For more about the event and overall card, click here.

More info online

Photo/video archives: You can see dozens of photos and hours of video – before, during and after Katrina — in the city’s online Photo Gallery. To go there, click here.

Weather central: You can find real-time radar and info on how to prepare for storms and flooding in the city’s online Storm Center. To visit the mini-site, click here.

Visitor info: Find out about the latest visitor amenities in Biloxi and the surrounding areas – and take a five-minute video tour – in the
in Visitors section of the city web site. To go there, click here.

Statsville: You can see a host of economic indicators – gaming and sales tax charts, building permits, debris-removal figures – in the city’s online Katrina & Biloxi section. To visit that area of the city web site, click here.