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Mississippi Tourism Officials Hope to Push Increase with True South Marketing Cmpaign

By Rhonda Miller | Published 26 Sep 2011 09:42pm | comments
Neal McCoy is the current president of the Mississippi Tourism Association. McCoy is Executive Director of the Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Tourism leaders meeting in Biloxi this week say visitors are finally coming back to Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina, the recession and the BP oil spill.  MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports officials are hoping a new marketing campaign called Find Your True South will bring in even more tourists.

Members of the Mississippi Tourism Association gave their seal of approval to a video that’s part of the state’s new marketing campaign, Find Your True South.

The strategy is to get tourists walking, driving and eating along the state’s history, food and music trails.  Mary Beth Wilkerson is Director of Tourism for the Mississippi Development Authority.

"What it does is link throughout the state all of these components. And people can actually have that experience and follow a path, or a trail, through the state," Wilkerson said. "And they can intertwine, you can do the culinary trail with the music trail."

The marketing strategy promotes what Mississippi Tourism Association President Neal McCoy calls an authentic experience for visitors.

"They want to go stand at the crossways of Highway 61 and 49 where Robert Johnson allegedly sold his soul to the devil. You can’t experience that any place else other than the Mississippi Delta," McCoy said.

Even though the Mississippi Development Authority reports a seven percent increase in tourism statewide, some regions, like Tunica, are seeing a decline.

Webster Franklin is president of the Tunica Convention & Visitors Bureau. He says the area was slammed by the weak economy and the Mississippi River flooding that forced casinos to close for a month.

"Our market is down about 10 percent over last year, but since 2006, we’re down about 25 percent," Franklin said.

Tunica may have the blues now, but across the state, the push is to add new attractions and bring more tourists hoping to find their true south .

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Neal McCoy is the current president of the Mississippi Tourism Association. McCoy is Executive Director of the Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau.


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