NPT will scale back its sales

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 9, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; As of June 1, Natchez Pilgrimage Tours will no longer sell antebellum house, carriage and tour tickets outside of Pilgrimage times, said NPT Marketing Director John Saleeby.

NPT has been providing year-round visitor services and ticket sales for almost 20 years.

&uot;This will give us the opportunity to focus Š on the other parts of our business,&uot; namely group and bed-and-breakfast reservation services, Saleeby said.

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&uot;Besides, in the best of times, that part of the business (off-season ticket sales) is marginally profitable,&uot; he said. &uot;Us being in that business doesn’t do anybody any good.&uot;

For one thing, antebellum houses that are open in the off season now pay NPT a commission to sell their tickets &045; an expense they the houses’ owners will not have starting June 1.

In addition, the houses themselves already sell tickets, and many visitors go directly to the houses to buy tickets as it is, said city Tourism Director Walter Tipton.

As far as carriage and bus tour tickets are concerned, the Natchez Visitor Reception Center already sells those, and visitors can also buy them directly at the buses and carriages.

NPT will still sell bus and carriage tickets, as well as house tickets, during the spring and fall Pilgrimages.

Do the changes in how NPT does business also mean a change in location? &uot;We’ll still be located at the depot,&uot; Saleeby said.

However, he did note that &uot;this (office) was opened when there was no visitor’s center.&uot;

For their part, city officials have not made a decision on whether to sell antebellum house tickets, Tipton said.

&uot;That’s a decision for the mayor and Board of Aldermen,&uot; Tipton said, adding that the issue could be addressed as soon as Tuesday’s aldermen meeting.

But Tipton would say that &uot;we would have to be approached by people wanting us to sell the tickets&uot; &045; namely, antebellum house owners &045; to get into that business.