Pilgrimage success means good year

Published 3:20 pm Sunday, April 15, 2007

Retailers often judge the success of their year by how the holiday season fares.

In Natchez, we base the year largely on how Spring Pilgrimage succeeds.

Using that as a barometer, 2007 is going to be an amazingly promising year for Natchez and the rest of the Miss-Lou.

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Tourism leaders report the number of tourists — both group tours and individual tourists — increased during Spring Pilgrimage.

That’s a sign that things are getting back to normal after Hurricane Katrina changed the texture of the tourism business in the region in 2005.

Spring Pilgrimage 2007 marked a few milestones worth noting, too.

The area celebrated 75 years of formally planned Pilgrimage.

The marketing effort that went into the special event was key to the success.

This year was the first visit since Katrina by the riverboats, the arrival of which greatly helped with this year’s success.

Pilgrimage 2007 is also the first year the Historic Natchez Pageant included the first truly meaningful roles by black members of the community. The move was overdue, appreciated and hopefully the first of many more such reconciliatory moves.

The 75th year of formalized Pilgrimage (the first was more impromptu) was an amazing success and hopefully a sign of a great year ahead and another wonderful 75 years of memories coming up.