Travel & Tourism

Look who’s the new leader of tourism on the Coast

Milton Segarra
Milton Segarra

He built the brand and bumped up social media efforts for Meet Puerto Rico, and Milton Segarra was selected to do the same for the three Coast counties on Monday as the new executive director of Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast.

His appointment comes seven months after the board members of Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast voted not to extend the contract of former executive director Renee Areng, who came to South Mississippi from Visit Baton Rouge.

“We took our time with the search to find the perfect candidate to bring the Coast to the next level,” said Bill Holmes Sr., president of the Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast board. “Our board is confident that Milton is indeed the best qualified person to accomplish the goals set forth in the Gulf Coast 2020 initiative.”

As CEO of Meet Puerto Rico, the convention and visitors’ bureau for the island, Segarra led a team of 29 and managed a budget of $6.2 million. He re-engineered the brand, developed a new business model and launched a new digital marketing and social media campaign. He has 30 years of experience in tourism, business and government. He serves on the board of Destinations International and its finance committee and is a Certified Destination Management Executive.

With his new position, he’s jumped years ahead in the recovery process. Twelve years after Hurricane Katrina, South Mississippi is still building back its hotel rooms and tourism numbers. Puerto Rico, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria in September, faces years of rebuilding its infrastructure and tourism industry.

“So much has been accomplished here and I am excited to be part of the team that will move the brand forward and create even greater awareness of all there is to offer along our beautiful Coast,” Segarra said.

He will begin his position on Jan. 8.