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Strickland named VCVB’s next director

Vicksburg native Laura Beth Strickland has been named the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director effective July 1.

The VCVB, branded as Visit Vicksburg, acts as the promotion agency marketing Vicksburg as a top tourist destination.

The VCVB Board of Directors placed job postings on statewide and nationwide tourism industry sites announcing their search for an executive director.

After receiving applications and conducting interviews, the committee made their recommendation to the full board of directors on April 25 at their monthly meeting.

“The selection committee and board of directors are confident in Laura Beth’s ability to continue and expand our growth in the tourism market,” Bess Averett, VCVB board chairperson, said. “Through her career, she has made vital and tangible impacts on the tourism industry locally, statewide, and at the national level.  The skills and leadership that she has honed in her roles at VCVB allowed her to stand out among competitive nationwide candidates.

“We look forward to her vision for the future of Visit Vicksburg.”

Current executive director Bill Seratt will retire on June 30, after more than 12 years at the VCVB.

“I applaud the selection committee’s decision to hire Laura Beth,” Seratt said. “She has proven herself to be a tourism industry leader who will do great things in Vicksburg.”

Strickland started with the bureau in 2009 and her experience includes media placement, social media marketing, human resources, budgeting, public relations and building advocacy programs.

She is currently serving as the Southeast Tourism Society Congressional Summit Mississippi Chair, and she has been named to the 2019-2020 Mississippi Tourism Association Board of Directors.

She has been honored by the Mississippi Business Journal’s Top 50 under 40, awarded for the Best Social Media Strategy from the Mississippi Governor’s Conference and been named Member of the Year for the Mississippi Tourism Association.   

“It is an honor and privilege to serve the community that has developed me both personally and professionally,” Strickland, who currently serves as the VCVB’s deputy director, said. “Vicksburg is experiencing unprecedented momentum as an economic driver for the region, and tourism is an essential part of that movement. I look forward to building on our current success and capitalizing on this positive momentum.”

The VCVB operates on a 1 percent hospitality tax on food and lodging in Warren County.

The mission of the bureau is to encourage and promote tourism for the Vicksburg/Warren County area as well as sell and market attractions of Vicksburg as a destination.

Visit Vicksburg currently has seven full-time and seven part-time employees and operates four locations.