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Southern Miss Students Propose Tourism Plans to Coast Industry Leaders PDF Print E-mail
Monday, November 16, 2009
Contact Charmaine Schmermund, 228.865.4573   
BILOXI, Miss. – Six University of Southern Mississippi Tourism Management students recently pitched their best plans to draw visitors to the Mississippi Gulf Coast in a presentation to tourism industry leaders Nov. 11 at the IP Casino, Resort and Spa in Biloxi.

Divided into two groups and using ideas from some of the coast’s premier annual events, the students developed plans involving casino marketing and cultural and recreational events they believe could increase tourism on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

“This project serves as a tangible learning assessment, involving industry professionals, to demonstrate the students’ processing of their newly acquired knowledge,” said tourism management instructor Evelyn Green.

The first group proposed the idea for the “Southern Slot Affair.” The students explained the event would bring coast casinos together in an extravagant slot tournament to raise money for charity. By marketing the event throughout the region, the students believe the event would attract a number of tourists.

The second group combined the coast’s two largest annual events – Cruisin’ the Coast and the Peter Anderson Festival. The students’ tourism plan, titled “Cultured Coast Festival of Arts,” was described as a coast wide arts event held in each city from Bay St. Louis to Pascagoula.

The panel of coast industry leaders were Brad Rhines, vice president of marketing and casino operations at IP Casino, Resort and Spa; John McFarland, chairman for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce and tourism committee representative for the Gulf Coast Business Council; Richard Forester, executive director for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau; Claire Dugger, director of marketing and communications for the Harrison County Development Commission; Rich Westfall, president of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community Foundation; Reed Guice, president of The Guice Agency; and Dr. Casey Maugh, assistant professor of speech communication at Southern Miss Gulf Coast.

The casino marketing course is part of the iPASS instructional model, also known as the Industry Professionals Assistance in Students’ Success, developed by Green for the university’s online casino management courses. For more information about the Southern Miss Department of Casino, Hospitality and Tourism Management, visit 

University of Southern Mississippi Tourism Management students proposed tourism plans to Mississippi Gulf coast industry leaders at the IP Casino, Resort and Spa in Biloxi. Using ideas from some of the Gulf Coast’s greatest annual events, the students were separated into two groups of three students each and competed by developing the best plan that brought tourism to the coast and involved casino marketing. From left to right, (standing) tourism management instructor Evelyn Green, students Brent Siebenkittel, Mindy Gambrino, Rick Fitzsimmons, (seated) Tiffany Glavan, Lauren Bise and April Joyner. (Southern Miss photo by Charmaine Schmermund)

About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at


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