Tourism summit to focus on next 300 years

Published 12:04 am Sunday, July 9, 2017

By Lyndy BerryHill

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — With the Natchez Tricentennial in the history books, Natchez tourism officials are now focused on telling the next 300 years of Natchez’s story.

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Visit Natchez’s staff and the Natchez Promotion Convention will host Tourism Summit 2.0: New Products and Next Generations on Monday at the Hotel VUE. Two identical sessions — one in the morning and another in the afternoon — will be offered for the free workshops to accommodate attendees’ schedules.

The morning session will be from 9 a.m. to noon. The afternoon session will be from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Visit Natchez Executive Director Jennifer Ogden Combs said the event will be offered roughly every six months to focus on the evolving tourism trends in the area, in the region and nationally.

Combs will join Natchez National Historical Park Superintendent Kathleen Bond and others as presenters Monday.

Combs said the presentations will be interactive and informative. Rather than have attendees sit through hours of PowerPoint lectures, Combs said she hopes to provide handouts and answer questions to work through tourism questions.

She said the event will help to evaluate what local stakeholders can do to improve tourism in the city and region.

Combs said she hopes the event would get people engaged and talking about how to improve tourism options to visitors.

Combs said she hopes the discussion will answer the questions: Where is Natchez going for the next 300 years? How will we go forward together?

“We focus on (tourism in Natchez) like a business,” Combs said.

Combs said tourism in the city impacts the majority of people employed in the area.

Combs said she realized after the first tourism summit, which was held earlier this spring that the community needs could not be a “one shot deal.”

“We would need to do this at least twice a year,” Combs said.

At the next summit, Combs said the focus will be on cultural heritage tourism as well as how to attract millennial tourists.

“(Both) are a very important part of what we need to look at,” Combs said.

Combs said she hopes the Monday’s event is “filled to the rafters” with tourism partners ready to learn.

“We have a big story to share,” she said.