Grab a passport and experience Vicksburg all over again
Published 11:49 am Friday, April 2, 2021
Visiting the many attractions Vicksburg has to offer has never been more fun.
The Vicksburg Convention Center and Visitor’s Bureau has launched a unique concept to encourage folks to visit attractions around town and all you need to play along is a City Attractions Passport.
When the pandemic hit, the tourism industry in Vicksburg suffered. There were no tourists coming to visit, and with the lockdown, locals couldn’t even get out to support the many attractions the River City has to offer.
But now, thanks to the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines and the number of positive cases declining, museums, tour homes, and other landmark attractions around the city are back in business.
To encourage people to get out and visit them, a free book the size of a traveler’s passport is available, and once a visitor collects five stamps in their passport from the 19 participating attractions, he or she will be able to redeem a free #VisitVicksburg T-shirt, executive director of the VCVB, Laura Beth Strickland said.
“We have wanted to come up with a passport for years,” Strickland said. “We’ve seen other places that do it and it was really successful.”
Strickland said the ability to finally issue passports was due to the allocation of funds from the state legislature through the Cares Act.
The funds were given to the VCVB to do “some new and innovative things” she said, one of which was the passports.
Since the City Attractions Passports were issued the week of spring break, Strickland said, they have had 184 completed passports.
“So that means visitors have gotten five different stamps from different attractions,” she said.
One of the attractions on the passport is the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum.
“We are so excited about the VCVB’s new passport program because it is such a positive way to encourage guests to visit multiple attractions,” said Nancy Bell, executive director of the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation and the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum. “While guests might plan their trip to include three or four sites, they may be more likely to add a couple more if they know that there is a free T-shirt for everyone in the family if they visit five attractions.”
Bell said 600 passports have already been given out at the museum.
The passport contains descriptions and information about each participating attraction, which makes for a great souvenir of the city.
“The booklet is something that guests will take home with them and hopefully show friends and family, which will entice them to visit Vicksburg as well,” Bell said.
Old Courthouse Museum Executive Director Bubba Bolm said since the City Attractions Passports have become available, he has had at least a dozen visitors come in.
“The tourists are coming in with them and we have given several away,” Bolm said. “And I think this is enticing the tourists to visit the other locations as well. If somebody is in town it (the passports) might entice them to spend an extra 30 minutes to an hour or so, so they can get the free T-shirt.”
Initially, Strickland said, the City Attraction Passports were started to boost tourism after the year-long pandemic while also offering people the opportunity to visit Vicksburg in a safe way, but because of its success, she said it would probably be continued all year long.
“We hope that locals will also take on the passport challenge and visit local,” Bell said. “Vicksburgers can visit one or two attractions a week and end up with a free shirt within just a couple of weeks if they don’t have the time to go to five places in a weekend.
“This is a great way to see what is in your own backyard and then you can go and tell others about it because our locals are our biggest Vicksburg Ambassadors,” Strickland said. “If our locals are advocating for it we are going to get more visitors here too, so it’s a win-win.”
The free City Attractions Passports are available at every attraction and the Visitors Center, which is located at 52 Old Highway 27 across the street from the Vicksburg National Military Park Clay Street entrance.
For more information visit www.visitvicksburg.com.