Travel writers to hold national conference in Biloxi

As many as 400 travel writers and industry insiders will be in Biloxi this time next year when the Mississippi Gulf Coast hosts the six-day national conference of the Society of American Travel Writers.

“This convention will show not only the attendees, but the world, that the Mississippi Gulf Coast is open for visitors and show how we’ve overcome some tough situations,” said Beth Carriere, executive director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau. Carriere presented the winning Mississippi Gulf Coast proposal at the travel writers convention last week in Indianapolis. The group has previously met in Guadalajara, Mexico; Houston, Texas; Manchester, England; Santiago, Chile; and Las Vegas, Nevada.

“The professional journalists and marketers who attend will shine the spotlight on our destination, through stories and photographs, for many years to come,” she said. “Over the next two years, we expect over $1.5 million in media contributions from blogs, TV broadcast segments, lectures, magazine articles, and even photo galleries and stock photo image sales.”

Conference delegates will spend much of their time exploring the Gulf Coast, with day trips planned by the CVB and pre- and post-conference tours with the help of planning from the Mississippi Development Authority’s Tourism Division.

The winning proposal, which was organized by the Gulf Coast CVB and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Attractions Association, was made possible by funding from the Gulf Coast Regional Tourism Partnership, with a grant from BP America, the MDA’s Tourism Division, and other local firms, such as the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino.

The City of Biloxi also was one of the sponsors of the proposal.

Said Mayor A.J. Holloway: “We’ve known for years that we have a great story to tell here in Biloxi and on the Gulf Coast. People know about our resolve and resilience. Now, they’ll be reminded about our multi-billion-dollar tourism industry, our top-notch, year ’round entertainment, the deep-sea fishing, the great seafood restaurants, the championship golf courses, and the natural beauty and colorful history of our community. It’s a great story, and we’re ready to tell it.”