Vicksburg Convention & Visitors Bureau working toward accreditation through DMAP

Published 1:19 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2022

The Vicksburg Convention & Visitors Bureau has begun the process of becoming globally recognized through the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) offered through Destinations International.

This accreditation, VCVB executive director Laura Beth Strickland said, will serve as a visible industry distinction that defines quality and performance standards in destination marketing and management.

“Being accredited (through DMAP) means we have reached the highest performance standards in our industry,” Strickland said, of which there are currently only about 200 worldwide.

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To assist the VCVB through the steps it takes to obtain accreditation, Strickland said, Young Strategies Inc. was hired.

Young Strategies Inc. is a company that specializes in research and strategic planning for the travel industry with a focus on destinations, Strickland said. They also work with Destination International.

The project proposal fee was $21,550, to be paid out in five equal payments of $4,310. The VCVB board approved the proposal at its March meeting.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, Strickland said she wanted to make sure the VCVB was doing “everything a CVB is supposed to be doing.”

“I became director in 2019 and then COVID hit, so I’m not new with everything. We just wanted to have a more strategic plan that we are following in tourism coming out of the pandemic and with these new ARPA funds,” Strickland said, adding having a “strategic plan falls in line with becoming an accredited CVB.”

In developing a strategic plan, Strickland said, a workshop with Young Strategies was held and four initiatives were determined — marketing, visitor experience, workforce development and advocacy.

Questionnaires were also sent out to local entities including industry partners, the VCVB board and elected officials for feedback.

Strickland said they will know more about how to implement the initiatives after a plan is devised by Young Strategies.

A finished plan is scheduled to be unveiled at the next VCVB board meeting on Sept. 22.

Strickland said obtaining accreditation could be a multi-year process, but once acquired, it offers a level of prestige in the tourism industry and opens doors to grant dollars.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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