Summer sports events pad VCVB’s July tax receipts|[10/26/07]

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 26, 2007

Youth baseball tournaments and Fourth of July events in Vicksburg helped pump up sales tax revenue that made its way to the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, Bill Seratt, executive director, said Thursday.

Amounts transferred from the Mississippi State Tax Commission totaled $102,894 for July, which was paid to the VCVB in September. In all, 4,874 visitors were counted at various visitor centers during the peak summer month.

“July was among the highest collections we’ve had since we’ve been here,” Seratt told the tourism promotion board at its monthly meeting.

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The city was host to at least six multi-day youth baseball events, centered at Halls Ferry Park, during the summer. Each attracted hundreds of players and parents.

The bureau is funded by the 1 percent tax placed on hotel rooms, restaurant and bar tabs in Vicksburg and the money goes to pay staff and promote more tourism. The bureau usually has about $1 million to spend and will examine its budget for the new year.

As for visitor counts, 3,438 were recorded for September, down from 3,842 August and 4,192 who visited in September 2006.

Vicksburg National Military Park recorded the most last month, with 1,972.

Notable among other committee reports was a planning session with park officials about providing more attractions friendly to young people, particularly an expansion of its junior ranger program.

“They would like to develop activities for children,” Seratt told board members, adding several requests come in weekly for children’s events.

The bureau will also go “full steam ahead in getting back into the motorcoach business,” Seratt said, adding newly hired group services manager Sherry Jones will consult with the American Bus Association and the United Motorcoach Association.

In recent years, tours on buses have made up a small portion of the tourism picture here, with just 22 scheduled in September.

Seratt also said he will serve as master of ceremonies for the Mississippi Luncheon at the Rhythms of the South tourism supplier trade show Nov. 28 to Dec. 1 in New Orleans.