Group: Travel South USA
Event: Travel South USA Domestic Showcase
Date: March 18-21, 2018

In March 2018, Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast had the honor of hosting the Travel South USA Domestic Showcase. Travel South is America’s oldest and largest regional travel promotion organization, formed in 1965. The long-standing regional collaboration of the state tourism offices of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia provides a foundation to positively position tourism as a vital and dynamic element in the region’s economic development.

This invitation-only event saw nearly 700 attendees, including nationwide travel buyers and suppliers. Also in attendance were journalists with advertising media and credentialed editorial media. It is estimated that the economic value of this Domestic Showcase was approximately $750,000. In terms of appointment requests, a record was set. Approximately 20,000 appointments were created, representing a 30 percent increase from 2017.

Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast paid particular attention to detail when it came to showcasing the region, and ensured that elements of the Mississippi Gulf Coast were highlighted throughout the four-day event. From an al fresco reception and dinner in Fishbone Alley, to city tours, fresh Gulf seafood and boat trips across the Coast, we showcased many of the phenomenal things to do, see and experience on Mississippi Gulf Coast.

“Setting the Scene” at the Mississippi Coast Convention Center

Mississippi Convention Center

For a true sense of arrival, the entrance to the convention center was transformed into a visual representation of the state of Mississippi, showcasing the beautiful scenery and building facades in the state’s five regions.

  • Local Coast Roast coffee was served.
  • A wooden pier and model of a fisherman welcomed attendees into the conference hall.

“Party Like a Local” Opening Reception at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Biloxi

  • An iconic establishment on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
  • Fresh Gulf Coast seafood served (shrimp, crab claws, redfish).

Journalist Reception in Fishbone Alley

This street-art-decorated alleyway in Gulfport, Miss., was transformed into a one-of-a-kind dining experience.

  • 50-person “family-style” table set up in the middle of the alley.
  • Street artists painting throughout the reception, adding to the ever-evolving urban art project.
  • Mississippi Gulf Coast signature cocktail, the Cat Island Cruiser.
  • Local restaurant, Half Shell, catered.
  • Local artisanal Pop Brothers popsicles served from cart.

Buyer & Supplier City Tours

City tours across the region provided a taste of the region.

  • Biloxi Lighthouse.
  • Ohr-O’Keefe Museum.
  • Biloxi shrimping trip.
  • Cooking class at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center.
  • Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum.
  • River & Swamp tour at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center.
  • Shopping in downtown Ocean Springs.
  • Walter Anderson Museum of Art.
  • Shearwater Pottery.

Journalist City Tours

Culinarian Tour:

  • Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum
  • Biloxi Brewing Co.
  • Shrimp boil at Biloxi Small Craft Harbor.
  • Two-hour “Tasty Tour” through Ocean Springs; six restaurants, with cocktails at the Walter Anderson Museum of Art

Adventurer Tour:

  • River and swamp tour at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center.
  • Shrimp boil at Biloxi Small Craft Harbor.
  • Biloxi shrimping trip.
  • Paddle boarding and pontoon boat in Gulfport.


Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast