Pilgrimage numbers are great news

Published 12:20 am Sunday, April 3, 2011

So far, so great! Natchez’s tourism leaders cautiously are singing the praises of this year’s Spring Pilgrimage.

At the halfway point a week ago, tourism leaders said the numbers of visitors coming to town were up — significantly — over last year.

Natchez’s tourism industry needs a little bit of good news. Since Hurricane Katrina blew through and washed away the riverboat business, tourism has been in recovery mode.

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The 2011 Spring Pilgrimage crowds certainly “seem” good this year. Anecdotally, foot traffic seems higher than in recent years and quite a few more buses seem to be cruising through downtown.

Increases are likely due in large part to the myriad of changes that tourism leaders worked on in recent months.

From reworking some of the nighttime entertainment to rethinking the ways in which tickets are sold, Natchez Pilgrimage officials are working to refine and update the tourism product.

Early reports seem to indicate that it’s working.

That’s great news.

Natchez’s history and surroundings are great resources for our community. It’s up to us to develop them to their fullest and figure out great ways to lure more out-of-town visitors to our community.

Pilgrimage tends to be an indicator of how our community’s economy will be for the rest of the year.

As the final days of Spring Pilgrimage 2011 approach, let’s all hope and pray that the higher-than-average numbers continue.