— The state of Mississippi announced Wednesday a $2.5 million tourism investment to help revive the Belle Isle, a popular tourist destination in the state’s south that has been closed for nearly a year due to flooding and erosion.
The announcement comes after the state and its local tourism agency, the Mississippi Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, received a request for proposals from five companies and other interested parties seeking to restore Belle Isle.
The $2,000 donation is part of the department’s $3.8 million plan to revitalize the area, which has been severely damaged by the 2011 flooding and eroded by years of storms.
The $2 billion plan is a major boost for the tourism industry in Mississippi, which is in the midst of a recovery from the devastating 2010 floods that left many communities and tourist attractions destroyed.
The floodwaters left hundreds of thousands of people homeless and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.
The Mississippi Department’s economic development office has estimated the Belle Islands could generate $10 billion in economic impact and more than $100 million in economic and community revitalization.
The Belle Isle is located just outside of Biloxi, Miss., and was the largest and most popular destination on the Mississippi River before the devastating floods of 2010.
It sits on a peninsula that separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Mississippi, and is surrounded by a large, sand-filled delta.
In 2015, the state lost the Mississippi Gulf Coast National Park and its 1,200-mile long Great Gulf Coast Trail, which had been home to some of the region’s largest migratory fish.
The state lost millions of tourists in the years following the floods, but it also made up for some of its losses by attracting some of America’s best and most innovative businesses, including the world’s largest cruise line, the Disney Cruise Line.