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Economic impact of American Queen, riverboat cruises puts focus on riverfront development and litter problem

In Thursday’s edition, we reported the American Queen Steamboat Company visits to Vicksburg amount to a $2.26 million impact to our local economy.

Included in that impact number is over 16,500 tourists who spend an average of $76 inside our city. Tourists are brought to town on two boats currently operated by the company, the American Queen and the American Duchess.

Many of these tourists are taking their first trip to the American South, and enjoy having a transportation guide in the cruise ships that take them from one stop to the next along the Mighty Mississippi.

And with the announcement of another boat operated by the American Queen Steamboat Company that will be stopping in Vicksburg, the 248-passenger American Countess, the best news is those numbers should continue to grow next year as more visitors are brought to enjoy our unique home.

With American Cruise Lines operating boats in and out of Vicksburg and more cruise companies, like Viking, making plans to add Vicksburg to their list of destinations, economic impact numbers will continue to grow.

In light of this, we are pleased that riverfront development work planning and discussions are underway. Outside of being a community and quality of life asset for residents, the riverfront serves as Vicksburg’s front door to tourists who are traveling here by river cruise.

We have all heard the old cliche about the power of a first impression.

Enhancements to the riverfront will ensure these visitors receive the best possible welcome, and first impression, of our town.

We also hope the community will come together to find a solution to the trash and litter problem that mars our historic streets, medians, sidewalks and lawns. Although many river cruise companies offer buses as a means of transportation, a handful of tourists opt to walk from the riverfront to local vendors and shops on Washington Street or to tour an antebellum home, like Anchuca or the Duff Green on First East Street.

To get the most out of our city’s partnership with river cruise companies, we need to help them give their guests the best experience possible while in Vicksburg. We believe that starts with continuing the riverfront development discussion and finding solutions to the litter problem.