Reeves visits River City amid National Travel and Tourism Week

Published 4:57 pm Friday, May 24, 2024

Mississippi has a lot to offer. That was the message Gov. Tate Reeves brought with him – along with a host of other state officials – to Vicksburg Thursday afternoon in the midst of National Travel and Tourism Week, where he spoke about what the Magnolia State brings to the table for visitors and unveiled plans for the new Mississippi welcome center facility.

Designs for the new Commissioner Dick Hall Hospitality Station at 4210 Washington Street were revealed during Thursday’s event, including its larger footprint and museum showcasing and intertwining the history of the River City. The center will be named in honor of Hall, a Vicksburg resident and Mississippi’s longest serving transportation commissioner.

“It really is great to be in Vicksburg today,” Reeves said. “I’m particularly excited to celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week. Mississippi has so much to offer the world. We’ve said repeatedly for years, whether it’s economic development or tourism, Mississippi’s biggest challenge is convincing someone to come here once. Because, if they ever come here once, they tend to love what they see.”

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Reeves shared that those that do come to Mississippi are leaving a mark, as visitor spending generated $744 million in state and local taxes last year, saving each Mississippi household $633 in taxes, and supported 105,000 Mississippi jobs.

“The fact that Mississippi is ranked eleventh nationally in year-over-year visitor spending growth really highlights how much momentum our state’s tourism industry has,” he said. “We’ve overhauled our tourism marketing strategy, and these award-winning efforts have gone a long way toward promoting Mississippi across the country. The state of Mississippi remains committed to enhancing our parks and welcome centers, as well as supporting the important work of sharing our story to travelers around the world. Wanderers are welcome in Mississippi.”

Along with Reeves, Director of Visit Mississippi Rochelle Hicks, Director of the Mississippi Department Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Lynn Posey, and Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation Brad White were in attendance for Thursday’s event.

White, who called Hall his mentor, said the new welcome center is a labor of love that will be a welcomed sight for the roughly 30,000 people who cross the bridge into or out of Mississippi daily through Vicksburg.

“The Mississippi experience begins for travelers as they cross the river and enter Vicksburg, and this wonderful new welcome center will not only make the right first impression, but it will also provide helpful information to tell Vicksburg’s story,” White said. “We are incredibly grateful to Governor Reeves, the state and Visit Mississippi for their investments in the new Commissioner Dick Hall Hospitality Station.”