News Column

Social Media Conference Could Come to Gulf Coast

March 12, 2013

Mary Perez, The Sun Herald

The Mississippi Gulf Coast is one of 13 destinations that could host the Social Media Tourism Symposium Nov. 6-8.

Voting to determine the winner begins Wednesday at 11 a.m. Each person can vote once during the 48-hour contest and by Friday afternoon the top eight destinations will be determined, said Taryn Pratt Sammons, social media specialist for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Three more rounds of voting will decide the host of the symposium.

"We want everybody to vote," said Sammons. El Paso, Texas, was last year's winning city with 76,000 votes, she said. Tunica was the site the second year of the contest.

The eight destinations with the most votes Friday will face off in four head-to-head matchups. The destination with the most votes in each heat will move on to the Final Four tournament. The championship final voting is for 12 hours on April 2.

The Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau submitted a proposal to host the conference that is presented by Think! Social Media. The symposium provides an opportunity for destination marketing organizations, hotels, resorts, attractions and other tourism-related businesses to share ideas and learn how to leverage social media within the tourism industry.

Sammons said if South Mississippi wins the contest, the CVB hopes to host 300 attendees from all over the country and some international participants.

"From the time they land to the time they leave they are utilizing all kinds of social media," she said. For the host location, that means an increase in awareness of the power of social media, Sammons said.

Source: (c)2013 The Sun Herald (Biloxi, Miss.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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