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Tourism needs to be a top consideration

For nearly as long as Natchez has existed, the community has been a destination of sorts.

From its early days as home to the Natchez Indians and then as a French outpost, Natchez has always been a place where people from all walks of life come and go.

Former Natchez Mayor Tony Byrne often describes Natchez as a “Little New Orleans.” The two river cities do, in fact, share many commonalities, though we prefer Natchez’s high bluffs rather than the low land of the Crescent City.

Perhaps one of the greatest common facets of the two cities is an almost magnetic attraction that draws visitors year after year.

Natchez celebrated that attraction Tuesday as tourism leaders marked National Travel and Tourism Week. As part of the event, tourism awards were given out to many deserving locals.

Tourism is an extremely important segment of our community’s economy. The Mississippi Development Authority estimates that travel and tourism resulted in more than $106 million turned over in the Natchez economy.

That’s an amazingly powerful statistic, one that should cause any and all community leaders to pause and reflect a bit on the importance of tourism to Natchez.

Natchez needs tourists and the dollars they bring today as much as ever. As we focus on ways to grow our community’s overall economy, figuring out how to grow tourism should be a top consideration.

Tourism is green — both in terms of the economy and the outside dollars it brings to the community.