No one knows a destination better than the people that are from there. These people are connected by language, culture, commerce, music, food, but most strongly by geography. They are all from a place that is inextricably linked by land and water, the U.S. Gulf Coast, a geographic continuum from Louisiana, through Mississippi and Alabama, to Florida.
To celebrate what’s unique and authentic about this region, the team at Solimar and public and private representatives from all four states worked with National Geographic to create an online interactive map, app and print map of the area through the voices of the people that live there. Visitors looking to travel to the area will find locally-sourced destination information about cultural, natural and historic attractions that define the Gulf States.
In addition to state support, The U.S. Gulf Coast States Geotourism Project is being advanced with financial support provided by BP’s Gulf Tourism and Seafood Promotion Grant Funds and an initiating grant written by the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and funded by, the U.S. Public Lands Highways Discretionary Grants program.
This past week, the U.S. Gulf Coast States Geotourism website, app and map were officially rolled out in a series of press events hosted by the Alabama Office of Tourism in Montgomery, Mississippi Office Tourism in Jackson and Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism in Baton Rouge, respectively.
Keynote speakers included National Geographic’s James Dion, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, Laura Gates of the United States Park Service and Louisiana Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne. Each outlined the importance of geotourism in helping the U.S. Gulf Coast prosper by telling the story of its people and lesser-known gems as well as supporting public lands and local communities.
From left to right: Louisiana Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne, Laura Gates of The United States Park Service and James Dion of National Geographic.
The official launch event in The Sunshine State will be held in September as part of the Florida Governors Tourism Conference. In the meanwhile, we’ll continue to capture stories from the U.S. Gulf Coast States, highlight some highlight some hidden treasures and be a voice for some of the people from the region. Stay tuned!