That’s a lot of bang for tourism bucks

Published 5:07 pm Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The expansion of the National Military Park to include 800 acres of the Champion Hill battlefield is good news for Vicksburg, and the $3 million campaign to improve the acquired land is icing on the cake.

The fundraising effort, organized by the Friends of the Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign, will allow for basic necessities tourists need to leave Vicksburg with a full understanding of what occurred on the Champion Hill Battlefield in 1863 and its significance on the campaign, like paved road pull-offs, signs, trail systems and repairs to historic structures.

Without the Friends fundraising effort, the National Park Service would have had to bear the weight of paying for and facilitating improvements needed before tourists can step foot in the 800 new acres acquired by the park.

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We know the Vicksburg National Military Park’s current annual economic impact to Vicksburg and Warren County is $38 million.

We also know that those who travel to experience places, artifacts and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past are the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry.

The addition to the park will give tourists who fall in that category another reason to come to Vicksburg and to spend more time here. It also gives those who have already visited the Park a reason to come back to experience Champion Hill battlefield.

Those visits will translate into more overnight stays in our hotels, more meals consumed at our restaurants, and more dollars spent in our stores.

Friends board member John Nau estimates the addition to the park could double the Park’s economic impact on Vicksburg and Warren County.

That’s a whopping $76 million dollars that could enter our economy once Champion Hill Battlefield opens to the public.

The donation of 800 acres is a large piece of land, and we appreciate the hard work that goes into transforming it into a first-rate tourist destination.

We thank the Friends of the Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign for working with the National Park Service to make necessary upgrades, and for bringing in additional heritage tourism dollars sooner rather than later.