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Visit Mississippi: Officials tout the importance state’s tourism industry

JACKSON – Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, Speaker Philip Gunn and tourism professionals from the Mississippi Tourism Association gathered Wednesday at the Two Mississippi Museums in Jackson to tout the impact of their industry on the state’s economy.

Though not in attendance, Gov. Tate Reeves, a tourism supporter noted, “A huge thank you to the members of the Mississippi Tourism Association for their hard work sharing the wonderful experience Mississippi offers tourists and the huge impact they have on Mississippi’s economy.  Showcasing Mississippi’s beauty, bringing more visitors into our state, and supporting the business owners who are the backbone of our state’s economy is truly invaluable work and I am proud to celebrate this vital industry today.”

“Mississippi’s assets range from its natural resources to its vast literary and music history,” Hosemann said. “One of the best ways we can share these assets with the wider world is by supporting tourism efforts, an almost $7 billion industry in our State.”

“As the fourth largest industry in our state, tourism is Mississippi’s calling card to the world to showcase all that our beautiful and diverse state has to offer,” Gunn said. “We know that the safe return of travel and tourism will be crucial to our state and nation’s recovery. Tourism is an economic driver, which is why we have invested in the industry’s ability to generate revenue for our state and communities by sharing our unique and singular brand of Mississippi hospitality to all who visit. Prior to the pandemic we saw a record year for Mississippi tourism and we will continue to work together to see the industry back to and exceed those levels as recovery continues.”

Even during a year trampled by the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism generated $5.65 billion in spending from the reported 21 million people who visited. Tourism supported more than 106,000 jobs in the state. In addition, state and local governments collected $580 million in tourism related taxes.

MTA coordinated the event, drawing tourism partners from convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce, attractions and other entities from around the state to celebrate the industry and discuss with legislators key tourism issues that affect our state and to celebrate our contribution to the state. Tourism is Mississippi’s fourth-largest industry, and tourism brings in new dollars to our state every day to tell our unique Mississippi story.

“MTA is thankful to safely celebrate Tourism Day,” said Rochelle Hicks, executive director of MTA. “Despite the tremendous challenges the tourism industry faced last year, tourism remains one of Mississippi’s most vital industries. MTA remains committed to supporting tourism initiatives and fostering economic growth in our communities.”

“It is truly incredible to reunite today as an industry not only to see fellow professionals and friends but to celebrate the fact that tourism in Mississippi will rebound,” said Kelli Davis, tourism director for Visit Cleveland and this year’s MTA president. “Mississippi offers authenticity, outdoor recreation, hospitality and warmth that we all so desperately need after the past year.  We are eager to welcome guests in a safe and responsible way and are encourage our legislators to continue to recognize the economic impact tourism provides for our state.”