Visit Vicksburg’s Strickland to serve as president-elect of Mississippi Tourism Association

Published 3:40 pm Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Jackson, Miss. – The Mississippi Tourism Association (MTA), the state’s voice of tourism for over 35 years, is pleased to announce its elected board of officers for 2024-2025. Visit Vicksburg’s Executive Director, Laura Beth Strickland, has been selected to serve as the state association’s president-elect starting July 1.

Strickland joined the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau (VCVB) in November 2009. A Vicksburg native and proud Mississippian, her experience and passion for growing our tourism industry is not only a professional goal, but also a personal goal. As executive director, she serves on countless boards representing Vicksburg including Mississippi Tourism Association, Mississippi Delta Tourism Association, and Capital Area Tourism Association.

Strickland graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2008 with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree in Journalism and English with an emphasis in Public Relations, Mass Media, and News Reporting. Laura Beth is a native of Vicksburg and a 2004 graduate of St. Aloysius High School. She is married to Michael, who farms in Vicksburg. They are parents to May (7), Michael (6), and twins Hunter and Hadley (2).

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The MTA Executive Board also includes the following members:

  • Rickey Thigpen, President & CEO – Visit Jackson: MTA President
  • Kurt Allen, President & CEO – Mississippi Aquarium: Vice President
  • Paige Hunt, Director of Tourism – Visit Starkville: Secretary/Treasurer
  • Christy Burns, Executive Director – Visit Corinth: Past President

In addition to executive board leadership, the MTA Board of Directors is comprised of three members from five regions throughout the state, as well as three at-large positions.

“Tourism is a vital multi-billion-dollar industry for Mississippi, which reflects the dedication of our tourism leaders and the strategic vision of state and local officials who have committed to investing in tourism growth,” said Danielle Morgan, MTA Executive Director. Our members have elected strong and capable leaders who will guide our association in revitalizing and expanding tourism across all sectors. The Mississippi Tourism Association benefits greatly from the commitment and expertise of our volunteer leaders, whose contributions are essential to our ongoing success and the future of tourism in our state. With this incredible team, we are well-positioned to drive our organization and Mississippi tourism forward.”

President Dr. Rickey Thigpen said, “Tourism is a crucial economic driver in Mississippi, weaving together the state’s cultural heritage, natural beauty, and hospitality to create a tapestry of experiences that captivate and enrich visitors from around the world. As the President of the Mississippi Tourism Association, I am excited to continue a tradition of excellence and economic vitality for our great state.  Mississippi Tourism is proud to boast that it is the state’s fourth-largest employer, generating $7.5 billion in visitor spending in 2023.  Last year, this activity saved each Mississippi household $663 in taxes while providing approximately 105,000 jobs for Mississippians.  The Mississippi Tourism industry is committed to utilizing collective ambition as its strategy resulting in an enhanced quality of life for our citizens and a sense of place for visitors.”


The voice of tourism, the Mississippi Tourism Association is a membership organization whose mission is to unite all sectors of the tourism industry through advocacy, promotion and education. MTA’s vision is to transform Mississippi’s economy through increased visitor spending and overall travel industry growth. For more than 30 years, MTA has led the Mississippi’s tourism education and advocacy efforts. Membership and organization details can be found at