Group selected to promote Coast sports, tourism nationally

Phoenix-based Huddle Up Group was selected this month to lead the strategic planning process for sports and event tourism in South Mississippi.

Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast, which promotes tourism in Harrison, Hancock, and Jackson Counties, selected Huddle Up Group. The effort will be led by Huddle Up CEO Jon Schmieder and principal Gary Alexander.

The focus of the project is to develop a long-range plan for the expansion of the Gulf Coast's venue offering, to evaluate sports tourism and marketing efforts, and identify opportunities around special events and festivals.

The company will conduct community stakeholder interviews, tour venues and hotels and review the current marketing budget and activities.

A final report and long-range strategic plan will be complete by March 2016.

Renée Areng, Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast executive director, said to compete in the fast-growing sports tourism market, South Mississippi needs a comprehensive assessment of sporting facilities.

The company also has worked with tourism and sports commissions in several states plus USA BMX, USA Badminton and USA Volleyball.