Park guide picked for VCVB board

Published 12:07 pm Tuesday, June 8, 2010

One of Vicksburg National Military Park’s most recognizable guides will have a new stop just across Clay Street when she fills an unexpected opening on the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau board.

Myra Logue, 62, was approved by Warren County supervisors to fill the final two years as the District 1 appointee following the departure of Bill Collins, who had been on the panel since 2000. Both are licensed tour guides in the park, though not park employees.

Logue said she was approached in the past few days by District 1 Supervisor David McDonald about the opportunity.

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“I think it’s important we have a licensed tour guide who can take things we hear from visitors — good and bad — and bring them to the table,” Logue said.

The Vicksburg native with local roots dating to the early 1800s commended VCVB Executive Director Bill Seratt on his stewardship of the tourism promotion board and said she’d vote to continue aggressive advertising of the Vicksburg market.

The VCVB visitor center and offices are directly across Clay Street from the main entrance to the federal park. Only two parks, Gettysburg and Vicksburg, have the guide program under which local residents can be certified to conduct individual and group tours of the battlefields.

Seratt has been VCVB director for two years and much emphasis has been placed on regional marketing.

“A lot of advertising is very important,” Logue said. “I’m pleased to see (VCVB) doing very good things.”

After supervisors’ unanimous vote, McDonald said he chose to appoint Logue because her guide experience would be more in sync with promoting tourism than someone in the business community, singling out hotels and restaurants.

In a short letter to McDonald, Collins, the owner of Rebel Welding & Industrial Supply, mentioned a retirement of sorts from his business and noted he felt it “was time to step down and give someone else the opportunity to serve.”

“I feel the bureau is in excellent shape under the leadership of Bill Seratt and the current board members,” it read.

The springtime Tapestry series of tours and events represents the bulk of advertising dollars spent since 2008. The three-week event featuring interpretive tours, lectures and demonstrations of slices of life sold more than 500 tickets for its second run, in 2010, buoyed by ad campaigns in a full-page glossy brochure and a “Key to the South” television commercial that started airing about the same time as Tapestry. In March, Seratt was among three inducted into the Mississippi Tourism Hall of Fame.

A 1 percent tax from restaurant and bar sales funds and a 1 percent tax on hotel stays funds the VCVB. A move of bureau offices into the old Levee Street Depot is planned for 2011.