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State gets tourism promotion funds from BP

JACKSON — The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) is preparing to launch a $15-million advertising campaign, coordinated with tourism and business officials across the three coastal counties, to promote tourism in light of the Gulf oil spill.

The $15 million was made available to the state by British Petroleum (BP).

Under Gov. Haley Barbour’s direction, MDA’s Tourism Division is developing a plan to work with coastal convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs) on messaging and to quickly put in place a campaign that will promote tourism to the Mississippi Gulf Coast as a whole. While all details are not yet in place, the state will be working with the local CVBs to ensure that advertising is placed in their target market areas to maximize impact and make the best use of these funds. Details will be made available as the plan is finalized.

“While we continually monitor potential impacts the oil spill might have on tourism, it’s important to get the message out that our beaches remain open, our waterways are unrestricted and our restaurants and hotels are open and accepting patrons,” said Gray Swoope,
 MDA’s executive director. “The Mississippi Gulf Coast is open for business. This is the message that these funds will be used to communicate.”

“We are moving forward very strategically with this endeavor. MDA will be working very closely with our industry partners on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the Governor’s staff as we develop this plan. Despite a very challenging situation, we know that destination marketing works,” said Mary Beth Wilkerson, director of MDA’s Tourism Division. “We are hopeful that an aggressive, integrated campaign will deliver an immediate return on investment.”

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