More people who have never been to South Mississippi will have the opportunity to rectify that now that Beau Rivage Resort & Casino is expanding its charter program to additional cities. The Rivage already flies two planes a day into and out of Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport.

Tourists who choose the program enjoy a three-day stay on the Coast, which means that between 650 and 700 people nightly help to fill the Beau Rivage’s 1,740 guest rooms. According to the Beau Rivage’s vice president of marketing Brandon Dardeau, they are also visiting local shops, restaurants, beaches and other South Mississippi attractions and renting cars to do it. This time of year when there is still snow on the ground in a lot of markets, Beau Rivage entices tourists to the region with its Fallen Oak Golf Club. Some guest’s trips are comped by the casino, but others pay for both room packages and flight. Dardeau said that in many cases people don’t partake in any slot play.

According to airport executive director Clay Williams, 20 percent of Gulfport’s total enplanements in 2014 were attributed to the casino’s partnership with Sun County Airlines. Last year that percentage increased to 22 percent and this year the program will expand to 70 or 80 cities from 60. Beneficial from a tourism standpoint, he said, is MGM Resorts’ expansion to points farther out in the Midwest and Northeast, according to the Sun Herald.

Troy Douglas, who started the program at the Beau Rivage, still manages it and is the executive director of nation marketing, said, they took a good look at new markets this year. The areas added this year include; Pittsburgh, Green Bay, WI, Boston, Newark and Buffalo, N.Y., Des Moines and Dubuque, Iowa; Hartford, CT, Huntsville, AL, Harrisburg, PA, and Rochester, MN. One obvious requirement is that the airport must have a runway capable of accommodating the Sun County plane, which is a dedicated Sun Country Airlines Boeing 737, with seating for 126, including 12 first class seats.

This year, about 600 flights are planned, with a trip approximately four times a year from each of the various airports. Dardeau said, people are wowed by the size and scope of Beau Rivage as well as the Southern hospitality.

The Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi has approximately 80,000 square feet of casino floor, with more than 2,000 gaming machines, table games, high limit lounge with 100-plus games, a 16-table two-tiered, non-smoking poker room, a wide variety of dining choices, and a 1,500-seat theater. The 4-star resort is within close proximity of the Boomtown Casino Biloxi.

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