Tourism summit a success

Published 1:27 am Thursday, August 23, 2007

NATCHEZ — This month’s tourism summit ended in a partnership between counties and parishes in two states.

Natchez Tourism Director Walter Tipton pronounced the summit a success at Wednesday’s convention and visitors bureau meeting.

“It was a very successful event, both in content and in numbers of attendees,” Tipton said.

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The conference involved 16 Mississippi counties and 16 Louisiana parishes. At the conference, all those joined in a nonprofit organization to promote tourism in the Miss-Lou, he said.

The group, tentatively named the Miss-Lou Regional Tourism Association, will take steps to draw tourism and advertise the area, he said.

The board will meet once a quarter and has already elected officers, Tipton said.

The size of the organization and the fact that it involves two states sets it apart from other similar organizations in Mississippi and Louisiana, he said.

“This (organization) is unique in the fact that it has equal representation from both sides of the river,” Tipton said.

The tourism summit christened the new $5.2 million Vidalia Conference and Convention Center.

Natchez Media Liaison Sally Durkin said she was impressed with the facility.

“It was a top-notch place,” Durkin said. “It was fun to hold the meeting there.”

Also at the meeting, Marketing Director Connie Taunton said a new computer program to track visitor information would soon be up and running.

The software is much easier to use than what they currently use, Taunton said.

“We’re just really, really excited,” she said. “It’s very user-friendly.”

The board will meet again at 1 p.m. Sept. 26.