Natchez welcomes another Pilgrimage

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 5, 2003

We were grateful to see the clouds mostly part by Wednesday afternoon, a nice welcome &045; if late &045; for our tourists in town for the first day of Natchez’s Fall Pilgrimage.

You would have to be very new to Natchez not to realize Pilgrimage is important to our economy &045; but you’d have be naive not to realize we, like other tourist towns, have taken a hit in recent months.

Beginning with Sept. 11’s travel downturn and continuing with the slow economy, we’ve seen fewer visitors in the past two years. If you don’t think tours of historic homes affect you, think about the loss of revenue from sales taxes and hotel and restaurant taxes and how that affects your city services.

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But with some innovative ideas &045; along with new restaurants, new stores and new activities &045; we have the potential to lure more people to Natchez. The park service is offering weekend walking tours; the bed and breakfasts are hosting more wedding receptions; and the city and park service are &045; albeit slowly &045; acquiring what is needed to recognize the Forks of the Road slave market site.

Everyone knows about Natchez. One New Jersey couple touring on Wednesday, when asked how they heard of Natchez, couldn’t imagine not knowing about our historic town. This week, an entire lecture devoted to Natchez is happening in Waco, Texas.

We have the reputation, but to keep visitors coming back, we need to continue to encourage the new ideas.

Good luck to our tourism industry this season, and welcome to our visitors.