Meetings set to get out details on upcoming events

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 2004

NATCHEZ &045; Preparing for big upcoming tourism events and conventions in Natchez will be the focus of a meeting Tuesday at the Natchez Convention Center.

However, Walter Tipton, Natchez director of tourism, said he also will take the opportunity to tell attendees about the new Web site,

The timing of the new Web site launching is excellent, as a holiday season approaches with many new and expanded events planned for the next two months.

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In addition to having good looks and professional quality, the site also has exciting potential for business owners who want to sell their items on it.

&uot;It will be exposure for those businesses to the thousands of hits we’re going to get on that Web site, and there will be some prestige attached to selling your gift items on the Natchez Web site,&uot; Tipton said.

The site also will be more efficient in getting calendar of events to potential visitors.

In times past, the several Web sites visitors could choose might have included conflicting or different information. That should not be the case now.

Laura Godfrey, president and CEO of the Natchez-Adams Chamber of Commerce, said the organizations have been working with Miss-Lou Internet Services &uot;to have the calendars interactive and to provide a place where visitors could have one-stop shopping.&uot;

The Web site features a banner of images representing Natchez, including the Mississippi River bridge, the American Queen steamboat at Natchez Under-the-Hill, the mansion

Dunleith and hot-air balloons.

Some links are still in the works. Overall, however, Tipton believes the Web site will be an improved tool for the Internet-using visitor.

Visitation in general, especially during the special events and conventions coming up at the end of 2003 and the first few months of 2004, will be the focus of two meetings on Tuesday.

&uot;We’ll present the same information at a morning session from 10 to 11:30 as at the afternoon session from 2 to 3:30 to give more people opportunities to attend,&uot; Tipton said.

The Tuesday event is co-sponsored by the Chamber, the convention center and the Downtown Development Association, which will start the day with a special program of its own for downtown business owners.

That program will be led by guest speaker John Brandon, associate manager of the Existing Industry Business Division of the Mississippi Development Authority.

That meeting will be 8 to 10 a.m. and will include a complimentary light breakfast.

The tourism sessions will be an information-sharing opportunity, Tipton said.

&uot;We’re trying to make people aware of events, especially in 2004 but also the Hollydazzle events planned in November and December.&uot;

In addition, the convention center will host several large groups in the coming months, including the Mississippi Gideons organization, the state Orthopedic Society, the Southwest Mississippi Health Summit and others, Tipton said.

Godfrey said the holiday season is approaching, and the tourism summit will provide anyone involved in visitation to get some ideas about what to do to take advantage of any increased numbers of tourists.

&uot;We want to provide the latest information for business people to take back to their employees so we all speak the Natchez language,&uot; Godfrey said. &uot;Besides businesses, we want anyone who is interested to come, but especially bed-and-breakfast owners, hoteliers and restaurateurs.&uot;

Godfrey said businesses can devise campaigns that will increase the numbers of visitors who come into their stores.

&uot;We want to encourage people to get clever, to make their businesses fun to shop in or their restaurants fun to eat in,&uot; she said. &uot;Coupons are wonderful. Visitors and residents alike love to get a deal.&uot;