The Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center in the US has been opened, marking a post-Katrina milestone that could place the coast back on the tourism map.
The renovations to the coliseum arena and the convention centre, with an expanded east lobby and parking garage, took five years.
The convention centre features 400,000ft² of meeting space and an area for general sessions that can accommodate 11,000 people, state-of-the art sound equipment and Wi-Fi, according to WLOX.com.
The $118m renovation has used FEMA money, insurance, CDBG funds and a bond passed by the people of Harrison County.
Executive director Bill Holmes said the upgrades would allow the centre to compete with markets like Tampa, Nashville and Atlanta.
“We can handle 85% of the business that’s out there, nationwide, in the convention and trade show business,” he said.