Tourism figures, project updates highlight Breakfast gathering

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich is admittedly a fan of numbers – “numbers are my friend,” and “if you can measure it, you can manage it,” he likes to say – and tourism leader Milton Segarra reminded those at Breakfast with the Mayor this morning just how important Biloxi and the Gulf Coast’s numbers are.

During a question in which he praised the mayor for his waterfront initiatives and the pending opening of two new hotels in Biloxi, Segarra pointed out some key tourism numbers:

– Biloxi and the Mississippi Gulf Coast account for 58.3 percent of the state’s 23.1 million visitors a year.

– Biloxi and the Mississippi Gulf Coast account for 32.2 percent of the $6.3 billion in expenditures by visitors each year in Mississippi.

 – Local governments on the Mississippi Coast provide $233 million – 36.1 percent – of the $646 million in tourism taxes.

 Segarra heads the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau, known as Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast.

 For the mayor, the numbers amplified the need to move forward on the city’s program of work. He provided updates on:

 – The recent waterfront conference at City Hall, where a standing-room-only audience of about 70 tourism advocates discussed ideas for the Point Cadet waterfront.

– The east and west Biloxi boardwalks. The West Biloxi Boardwalk, a project of the city and county, is open, and work will begin soon on a boardwalk that will connect Point Cadet Marina with the Point Cadet fishing bridge.

– Popp’s Ferry Causeway Park. Work continues on the bait shop, but the park is open, until 4 p.m. to vehicular traffic and later through a pedestrian gate near the boat ramp.

– The restoration of Howard Avenue downtown. Workers are expected to have the brickwork between Reynoir and Lameuse completed by the end of October.

– Infrastructure work. Oscar Renda is working on the last block of Division Street – between Lameuse and Main – and expects to have the entire street paved ahead of the end-of-October timeline. Hemphill is complete with laying water and sewer lines along U.S. 90, except for the area south of the Biloxi City Cemetery.

– Cruisin’ The Coast. The downtown Biloxi block party, which takes place on Wednesday, will have expanded parking this year: Community Bank is allowing cars to be displayed on the site of the former federal courthouse, which will become the Biloxi presence of the bank.
Video: See the mayor’s presentation
Gallery: See the Breakfast audience
See the mayor’s PowerPoint
See the tourism numbers
See infrastructure video
See Cruisin’ The Coast info


News & Notes: City Desk, Ohr festival

City Desk: Hear more from Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich in this week’s City Desk podcast recorded after the Breakfast with the Mayor event at the Golden Nugget. Also: CAO Mike Leonard and Biloxi Police Maj. Chris DeBack.  To listen, click here.

Ohr festival: The Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art will host the George E. Ohr Art and Craft Beer Festival on Saturday, Oct. 6 at the museum.  The festival will include an array of arts and crafts, craft beer tents, a camper rally with vintage campers, live music and more.  For more information, including ticket prices, call the Museum at 228-374-5547.