We need to welcome tourism as industry

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 17, 2004

On Saturday Natchez will officially roll out its red carpet for Spring Pilgrimage, a six-week period of house tours and special events highlighting our history for visitors.

It is well worth noting then, since so many political candidates will be discussing economic development over the next few weeks, that tourism is a large part of our economy. We need to treat the industry with the respect it deserves.

Tourism is an important part of our overall economy, and our efforts as a community should reflect that.

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It’s why such issues as sign ordinances and beautification are important. It’s not just about improving the quality of life for those who live here, it’s about improving our economic opportunities. Such issues must be part of our overall vision for the community.

Natchez should embrace the tourism and hospitality industry as a major economic factor while also courting more traditional industries.

At the same time, those involved in tourism, both public and private, should be looking ahead to how the industry can evolve and expand.

There are segments of the industry &045;&045; such as African-American history and outdoors activities &045;&045; that deserve greater attention and can attract greater attention.

To our visitors in town over the next several weeks, we welcome you. To our residents and public officials, we encourage you to welcome tourism and the responsibilities the industry demands.