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Picayune offers unique tourism opportunities

Pearl River County has many reasons for people to visit and learn about its history, landmarks and people.

Three major means of transportation – interstate, rail and river – make getting here a very easy proposition.

The question is: Are they coming?

Christy Goss, special projects coordinator for the city of Picayune, says people are coming, but it is difficult to gauge the exact volume.

“People are private and don’t want to give out their information like they used to because there is so much fraud,” Goss said.

“Our welcome center is one of the most visited in the state, “ she said. “It’s right there at the state line.”

Goss also noted that Sun Roamers RV Park “has different groups there all the time.”

“I think there are some fox hunters that are there now and there are some car clubs that come in,” she said. “There are quite a few which come here.”

Goss said the area also regularly serves as a halfway point for travelers between Florida and Texas.

“Many of those (people) stop for a day or two and visit our shops and motels,” she said. “That adds to our economy.”

Goss said tourism is a vital part of local economic development, but the local budget is not there to promote tourism as much as desired, but there is some limited assistance.

“We have been certified as an official Mississippi retirement city by the state, and we partner with others with that designation to split expenses for national advertising,” Goss said. “The state also has paid for a conference booth at a recent trade show.”

She noted there are also partnerships for tourism, including those with the Greater Picayune Chamber of Commerce, Picayune Main Street and the city, “who partner together to share in advertising dollars.”

Goss says she is not worried about the major cities to the south on the Gulf Coast.

“Comparing us to Biloxi, Gulfport and New Orleans is like comparing apples and bananas,” Goss said. “We have a different atmosphere to offer and it’s one that many people appreciate.”