JACKSON, Miss.–Mississippi is the “birthplace of America’s music”. Mississippi has the Blues Trail, the Country Music Trail, resorts, water parks, and world-famous food. But, getting people to come here could be pretty tough when there’s not enough money to tell them about it.
“We have the smallest advertising and marketing budget in the southeast,” said Malcolm White, head of Visit Mississippi. “The University of Southern Mississippi did a study for us and we confirmed all the things that we feared and that’s that our neighbors are doubling our advertising and marketing budgets and getting their message out and ours is getting drowned out in the clutter.”
MALCOLM WHITE INTERVIEW
White, a guest Friday on the Gallo Radio Show, said the people involved in the tourism industry have been creative in using social media to get the word out.
“We recently worked a deal with KLLM Trucking Company to put our billboard on the side of their trucks and those trucks go to every state in the union and all across Mexico and that is a great way to share our message.”
White said some of the billboards include golf courses, the Mississippi River and music.
“It’s all the great assets that we have in the state that we use in our campaign to promote Mississippi to visitors.”
White said that tourism is a good investment because it is the fourth-largest private sector employer in Mississippi, with about 84,000 people making their living from getting people into the state.
“We have a $12.93 to $1 return on investment on our latest campaign, so far. Every dollar the state allocates for tourism, we return $12.93 and that’s an enormous ROI.”
White said that the recent stabilization of the casino and resort industry has helped Mississippi bring in more people, following a slump that saw casino revenue fall for several years.
“We are stabilizing our casinos. They are diverse. They have many assets. They are not just gaming halls. They are hotels, convention centers, golf courses. They are water parks. They’re really engaged in a diverse portfolio and that, along with moving them ashore after Katrina, have been two of the things that have stabilized that industry.”
White said one reason the industry suffered is because most Americans now live withing three hours of a casino.
He also said that gas prices have helped tourism recently because Mississippi attracts people who drive here more than people who may fly here.