Tourism officials scale back on spending for new Web site

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 25, 2008

NATCHEZ — Tourism officials said they are staying well within their means in the creation of the new visitors Web site.

Using some funds from the $2 hotel tax budget, Tourism Director Connie Taunton said roughly $37,000 of the projected budget of $600,000 had been set aside for the site’s development.

Each category of the budget — leisure, convention and meeting and heritage tourism — had a portion of its overall budget devoted to the Web site.

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However, Taunton said they wanted to use the funds conservatively.

She said the Web site budget has been reduced to between $15,000 and $17,000.

“What we’ve done is we’ve been able to come under (the original budget) by researching and making sure we weren’t doing a lot of cross over stuff and really trying to economize but still have a wonderful site,” she said. “And we were not sure of how the budget is going to be, we just didn’t want to really jump out there and overspend.

“We can always go back and update it.”

The money budgeted for the site goes into several things, mainly photography and the cost of hiring a company to design it.

The input on design has come from the convention and visitors bureau, as well as the marketing advisory committee in charge of the special tax budget, but the design itself is being done by Riley Creative.

An additional $10,000 is being spent on a three-minute high definition video that will be on the Web site.

Taunton said another reason for not spending as much money as originally planned is just the overall uncertainty on how the funds will come in the first year with the tax.

“Right now we’re having to be very careful in where we spend those dollars,” she said.

The CVB separated from Miss-Lou Internet in developing the new site and it will be independently operated by the CVB.

It includes tabs for leisure tourism, weddings, conventions and media/film. The projected launch date is mid- to late December.