Travel writers begin gathering this week on Mississippi Gulf Coast

The first wave of 300 travel writers from across the country begins arriving on the Mississippi Gulf Coast today, and local tourism leaders are asking residents and businesses to put their best foot forward for the group’s weeklong visit.

The Board of Directors of the Society of American Travel Writers arrives today, signaling the kick off of the full conference on Oct. 20 at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino.

The SATW promotes responsible journalism, provide professional development for its members and encourages the conservation and preservation of travel resources worldwide.

Each year, a destination is chosen and the elite group meets for professional development and education and to tour the conference location. The Mississippi Gulf Coast was awarded the 2013 conference last year at the 2012 conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. Previous conferences have been held in Germany and New Zealand, and next year the conference will be in Iceland.

The group — which includes writers whose work has appeared in major U.S. newspapers, magazines and on internet blogs — is expected to generate millions of dollars in publicity.

More than 50 tours are planned from state line to state line Sunday through Thursday. Attendees also had the chance to schedule pre-tours and post-tours throughout Mississippi.

“We have company coming,” says Beth Carriere of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau, one of the groups that has helped organize the affair. “We want to make these travel writers and guests feel extremely welcome so they share our message with their readers not only in the U.S., but in the world. You never know where a freelancer’s article may end up being published. We want to show that the Mississippi Gulf Coast has it all!”

The CVB is asking business owners from Pascagoula to Bay St. Louis to welcome SATW attendees “with open arms and showcase our Southern hospitality,” Carriere said. Welcome signs for the Society of American Travelers are also encouraged on marquees and letter boards. The CVB also recommends that businesses take extra steps to pick up litter.

For more information on the Society of American Travel Writers conference on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, visit