November revenue shows Vicksburg’s tourism growing stronger

Published 4:53 pm Thursday, February 10, 2022

After two years, Vicksburg’s tourism industry is making its comeback with the county’s hospitality tax revenue for November exceeding the revenue received for the same period in 2019 and 2020, according to information from the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The county assesses a special 1-percent hospitality tax on food and beverage sold in the county and hotel rooms. According to the VCVB, the county received $112,421 in January; a 15.3-percent increase over 2020 and a 7.8-percent increase over 2019.

Sales tax disbursements from the state Department of Revenue run two months behind so the revenue received in January was for collections in November. Year to date, total tax collections exceeded 2019 by 9 percent and 2020 by 17 percent.

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VCVB Executive Director Laura Beth Strickland said the December tax disbursement is expected sometime in the next week. The VCVB’s fiscal year runs from January to December.

Year to date, total hotel revenue, the room rates paid by visitors staying in local hotels, was $38.61 million, a 17.99 percent increase over 2021, and hotel occupancy averaged 58 percent, a 7 percent increase over 2021.

Strickland believes several things have contributed to the increase.

“Vicksburg is a great destination and we have what people are looking for,” she said. “We’ve got natural amenities, we’ve got the Vicksburg National Military Park, the Mississippi River and places where you can feel safe when you come to visit.”

Strickland said the hotel revenue has picked up because of government travel, programs at Alcorn State University and Jackson State.

“The CARE money we got in 2020, we were able to market Vicksburg in ways that we’ve never been able to market Vicksburg in the past,” she said. “We were able to reach new markets and get the word out about what all we do have to offer here. We just had better opportunities that came together that really made a difference last year.”

Strickland said the city’s sports complex, Sports Force Parks on the River has been a boost to the hotel revenue.

“We’ve been able to have more conferences and events out there and we’ve been seeing a good bit of traffic with the tournaments out there; that’s been really great,” she said.

Strickland said the city had 134 riverboat dockings in 2021, bringing more than 16,000 people to the city. She said 194 riverboat dockings are expected for 2022 with the boats returning in March. Viking Cruise Lines, which is preparing to begin Mississippi River cruises, will start docking boats in April.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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