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Gaming numbers may see boost as Tunica gets new airline

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Photo by SuperTalk Mississippi News

A new charter airline is coming to Tunica. The new partnership with Ashley Air and Travel will provide service to four new markets including Atlanta, Georgia
Charlotte, North Carolina, Orlando, and St. Petersburg, Florida.

The flights will begin July 1st and should bring in more tourism.

Tunica’s Airport Director Eric Konupka said the partnership with the new airline will open up tunica’s gambling industry to the four major markets.

“Our partnership with Tunica Airport and Ashley Air and Travel will enhance our area’s tourism industry by opening up our world-class gaming and entertainment product to millions of consumers in these four major markets,” said Eric Konupka, Tunica Airport Director. “The Tunica Airport is an easy drive from anywhere within the Memphis Metro area and our free parking will provide our outbound customers with an economical travel option to these four desirable locations.”

Allen Godfrey, Executive Director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission said that the Tunica gaming market has gone down drastically in the past 10 years. Godfrey said that in 2007, the Tunica market brought in $105M and since then it has gone down roughly 50% or more.

“It’s always good to have air traffic coming in,” Godfrey said. “It means that it is not local money, it is out of state money that will be there for a couple of days and when you get them in the region, they have a tendency to stay in the region and spend money in the region.”

Godfrey added that neighboring areas with outlets like Southaven and Memphis, TN will most likely see a boost in their economy as well.

“The average person that is coming to gamble, they average three to four hours, of what they gamble in a day, so you have to occupy your time with something else,” Godfrey said.

Ashley Air and Travel’s 50 passenger ERJ145 jet aircraft will operate once daily Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from Tunica to Atlanta or Tampa/St. Petersburg, then Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday to Charlotte or Orlando.

In addition, to celebrate the new service, Ashley Air and Travel is offering an introductory $599 annual travel membership, including unlimited travel on all routes served by Ashley Air for $39 each way.

“We are thrilled about the new routes to and from Destination Tunica,” said John Ashley, Chief Executive Officer of Ashley Air and Travel. “The demand to visit Tunica is high and we are excited to provide this new and affordable service connecting the traveling public in Atlanta, Charlotte, Orlando, and Tampa/St. Petersburg to all the Tunica destination has to offer.”


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