Leaders need to take stand for tourism

Published 12:05 am Sunday, December 7, 2014

Like many clichés, the phrase “you get what you pay for” sticks around because it contains a kernel of truth, applicable in many ways.

With rare exception, cutting corners and trying to save on spending at the expense of quality will not yield good results.

That’s true in most things, but particularly in marketing.

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The State of Mississippi is considering adding more than $5 million to the state’s relatively anemic tourism marketing budget of $3 million.

The current amount pales in comparison with neighboring states of Louisiana, which spends $11 million, and Alabama that spends $22 million.

Even some of Mississippi’s own seemingly obscure agencies spend much more money. The State Fair Commission spends $4.8 million annually, a cool 60 percent more than the state spends on luring visitors here.

Mississippi’s tourism efforts still lag behind many other states, and at least part of the problem is due to simply not working hard enough to provide a positive take on Mississippi.

Our beloved state faces significant stereotypes in the minds of many, many would-be visitors. Destroying those stereotypes will take time and positive experiences by visitors. That will take hard work and money.

We urge our local tourism leaders and legislators not to allow the state’s new budget be passed without additional funding for tourism marketing.

The extra money will help Mississippi — and Natchez — lure visitors here. Such tourism is exactly the kind of clean and green industry of which our community needs more.