Natchez CVB, Democrat win tourism awards

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 3, 2010

TUPELO — The Natchez Convention and Visitors Bureau and The Natchez Democrat took home two of the state’s top tourism awards Tuesday afternoon at the 2010 Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

Sponsored by the Mississippi Tourism Association and the Tourism Division of the Mississippi Development Authority, the Governor’s Awards honor the individuals and organizations that excelled in tourism over the past year.

The Natchez CVB was named the top CVB in the state among visitors’ bureaus with a budget between $750,000 and $1 million. During Tuesday’s presentation, the Natchez group was applauded for its brand new Web site, new logo and slogan and its use of social marketing sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, to market the area and attractions to potential tourists.

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“There are a lot of great CVBs in the state. I feel honored that we won,” Office of Tourism Director Connie Taunton said. “We have tried to really focus this year on where and how we need to market Natchez and its attractions. I am glad the judges recognized us for some of our innovative approaches.”

The Natchez Democrat also won the 2009 Travel Media Award for Newspapers for the newspaper’s redesign of its monthly visitor’s guide and the design of its tourism Web site, Natchez on the River. The newspaper was applauded for cooperating with the local convention and visitors bureau in creating a publication that was both eye-catching and user-friendly.

“Our staff is humbled by the honor,” Democrat publisher Kevin Cooper said. “What we love more than anything, however, is seeing tourists walking the streets of Natchez with a Visitor’s Guide in their hand or shoved in a back pocket as they explore the area and spend money in our great community. That’s when we know we’ve provided our local businesses with a good value.”

“We are asked frequently by other tourism groups about the quality of our visitor’s guide and our coordination with the newspaper,” Taunton said. “I am very happy with this particular award.”

Entries were judged by out-of-state judges selected by the Mississippi Tourism Association.