Tourism has great economic impact

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Tourism revenues in fiscal year 2004 accounted for $1 of every $10 in the Mississippi General Fund budget &045; and tourism jobs numbered more than 92,000 across the state last year.

If those numbers aren’t enough to convince anyone that tourism is big business, we’re not sure what would.

So it was fitting Wednesday that officials on both sides of the Mississippi River took time to honor tourism professionals &045; and the tourists who make everything possible.

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Vidalia and Natchez police officers &uot;arrested&uot; some unsuspecting tourists to give them gift baskets as thanks for visiting the Miss-Lou.

And in Natchez, some surprised employees in the tourism industry were recognized for efforts that go above and beyond their normal duties.

In Wednesday’s ceremony, 23 people, two properties and one event received tourism awards.

It’s great to see folks receive recognition for making an extra effort to welcome visitors to our community. They provide examples each of us should follow.

Not only do tourists contribute significantly to our economy when they visit our hotels, restaurants and retail stores, they also spread the news about our community to other potential visitors.

And you never know just which tourists might also be potential industrial prospects touring the community to consider moving jobs here.

As EDA officials have said, &uot;You never know who’s a CEO.&uot;

We would all be wise to treat tourists with respect and hospitality &045; who knows how great their economic impact could be.