Hospitality makes future bright in area

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 19, 2006

If Mississippi is the hospitality state, as it is known, the Miss-Lou should be declared its official capital.

Our tourism roots were planted decades ago. They began to grow fully 75 years ago when the wise women of the area began opening their historic houses to the world. From that point forward, the Miss-Lou, its people and its history became intertwined and on display for the world to visit.

This week, tourism officials are celebrating See America Week, once known as National Tourism Week. The point of the designation is to garner a little public attention on the impact of tourism.

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And, while our area may be more award of tourism&8217;s impact than most, it&8217;s still a good time to remember just how important those tourism dollars are to our community.

Few, if any, local businesses are unaffected by tourism. From the obvious &8212; restaurants and gift shops &8212; to the obscure &8212; banks and hospitals &8212; tourism affects almost all of us.

Last month, locals met with representatives with Canada-based Lord Cultural Resources Planning and Management to discuss options for broadening the area&8217;s appeal.

New Orleans developer Tom Bauer, who plans to build a hotel across from the Natchez Convention Center, coordinated the meeting.

Mixing new ideas from people such as Bauer and the folks from the Lord group, with the local knowledge, history and pride, can produce amazing new developments. Getting there will just take some time and lots of cooperation.

Both of those should be easy to accomplish in the capital of hospitality.