Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and tourism professionals from the Mississippi Tourism Association (MTA) gathered today at the state Capitol to tout the impact of their industry on Mississippi’s economy.

Though not in attendance, Governor Tate Reeves, a tourism supporter noted, “Mississippians have diverse, fascinating stories to tell, and I appreciate the thousands of people in our tourism industry who help us share those stories every day.  There’s a reason we’re called the ‘Hospitality State.’ Once a visitor sees the beauty of our state and experiences our hospitality firsthand, they want to come back. I thank the Mississippi Tourism Association for all they do for our small business owners and for our great state.”

“We have so much to offer in Mississippi from our culture and history, to award-winning music and world-renowned literature, to our beautiful natural resources, like the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” said Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann. “Others from outside our State need to learn about how special and unique Mississippi is. Our tourism industry is a big part of this endeavor.”

MTA coordinated the event, drawing tourism partners from convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce, attractions and other entities from around the state to celebrate the industry and discuss with legislators key tourism issues that affect our state and to celebrate the Tourism Promotion Act which will permanently fund tourism advertising and marketing for our state tourism office, Visit Mississippi. Tourism is Mississippi’s fourth largest industry, and tourism brings in new dollars to our state every day to tell our unique Mississippi story.

“Travel and tourism is one of Mississippi’s most vital industries and a solid investment for our state,” executive director of MTA Rochelle Hicks added. “Last year, Mississippi had record growth with more than 24.7 million visitors who spent over $6.7 billion dollars in Mississippi. Tourism supported 122,850 jobs in our state. We continue to have record breaking numbers year after year.”

“Tourism plays such a large role in the success of our state,” said Craig Ray, director of Visit Mississippi. “Through visitors spending money in our state to jobs being created, this industry brings focus and attention on a variety of things we have to offer.”

“We as Mississippians love seeing the reactions of visitors as they experience the real story of Mississippi in person,” said Annette Rand, sales manager for DoubleTree by Hilton and this year’s MTA president. “It is a story that for so long has been misrepresented by outsiders, and tourism is the key to changing that story.  Tourism brings in new dollars to our state every day and in many circumstances is the first date for further economic development here. Increased advertising dollars for tourism is the key to competitiveness in the region.”

MTA and the Mississippi Gaming and Hospitality Association will be hosting a ticketed event from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. at The South for legislators and tourism industry supporters.  Entertainment will be provided by Grammy Nominated American Blues guitarist and singer Christone “Kingfish” Ingram.  Born in Clarksdale, Miss., Kingfish released his debut album May 2019 and was the #1 album on The Billboard Blues Chart[24] and the #1 Billboard Heatseeker album[25] upon release.  In August 2019, Kingfish performed 11 dates with the rock band Vampire Weekend and has previously toured with Buddy Guy.

The Mississippi Tourism Association, formerly known as Mississippi Travel Promotion Association, began operations in 1988 with the primary objective of creating an industry-wide promotional organization with the goal of serving as the statewide voice for all segments within the hospitality industry. That mission continues to grow for the organization whom is guided by a Board of Directors representing all parts of the State and all segments within the hospitality industry.