Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, country music star Randy Houser and tourism professionals from the Mississippi Tourism Association (MTA) gathered at the state Capitol Wednesday to tout the impact of their industry on Mississippi’s economy.
“The tourism industry is one of our state’s largest economic contributors,” said Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves. “Mississippi has much to offer our visitors with award-winning restaurants and museums to entertain the entire family. We invite others to come see the history and heritage of our great state.”
Rochelle Hicks, Executive Director of MTA said that last year, over 23 million visitors spent in excess of $6.34 billion in Mississippi.
“Travel and tourism are one of Mississippi’s most vital industries and a solid investment for our state,” said Executive Director Hicks. “For every $1 spent on advertising and marketing, Mississippi receives $12.93 in return.”
The MTA coordinated the event, drawing tourism partners from convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce, attractions and other entities around the state.
“For more than 30 years, the Mississippi Tourism Association has represented Mississippi tourism with the goal of serving as the statewide voice for all segments within the hospitality industry,” said Hicks. “We will continue to lobby and tell the Mississippi story of history, heritage, and hospitality. We want our guests to return for multiple visits, and we want to grow the number of visitors exponentially.”
Hicks added that tourism is the fourth largest industry in the state, and said that they desire to assist in making Mississippi better every day.
Nancy Carpenter is the Executive Director of Visit Columbus and this year’s MTA president said that tourism is economic development in its truest form.
“We are proud of the tourism product Mississippi has to share,” said Carpenter. “Increasing our state’s tourism advertising budget better positions Mississippi to attract visitors to the state. We need to stay competitive in the tourism market and to do that, we must reach more people and share with them our Mississippi story. Travel and tourism mean new money to our state every day as one of Mississippi’s top export-driven industries.”