Learn about vision for area tourism

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, September 20, 2017

With the new fiscal year right around the corner, I would like to share with you — our community members and our partners — some of the ideas, visions and goals of Visit Natchez and the Natchez Convention Promotion Commission for the upcoming year.   As you know, tourism has an important impact on the economy of Natchez and Adams County. When you consider every household in Natchez and Adams County saved $964 in state and local taxes in 2016, that’s a big deal for all of us!

We had an extraordinary year in 2016 as we marked our historic anniversary of the diverse cultures, history, and heritage that defines what we’ve become over 300 years.   The mission that guided every aspect of the Natchez Tricentennial was to “commemorate our past, celebrate our present, and create – define – our future.”

We believe this should be the foundation and road map for growing our tourism industry, and therefore having a positive impact on our economy and the quality of life for our residents.

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Visit Natchez is dedicated to helping create a new and vibrant tourism industry for the “next” 300 years by:

  • Working with our partners to diversify our tourism products;
  • Providing support and guidance for new, emerging tourism partners and offerings;
  • Utilizing technology to target new markets and to provide tools to measure success;
  • Expanding our growing international tourism market;
  • Co-op advertising, working locally and with the state, to stretch not only our dollars, but also the dollars of our local businesses and partners;
  • Developing new, clearer guidelines for our Marketing Assistance Program with applications reviewed July and January each year.

Information and forms are available for the Co-op ads and Marketing Assistance Program at Visit Natchez 601-446-6345. We’ve also created a Facebook page — Natchez Tourism Partners — as a way for our local community to stay informed and share information.

We know from the thousands of people who annually visit Natchez, and from the latest national research, travelers today are looking for authentic sensory experiences of a place, also known as cultural heritage tourism. The National Trust for Preservation describes cultural heritage tourism as “traveling to experience the places, artifacts, and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present.  It includes cultural, historic, and natural resources.”

This perfectly describes the opportunity for Natchez to set the standard as a premier cultural heritage tourism destination because we have what visitors are looking for!   Not only do we have the historic and natural resources, we have a community eager to share its stories covering over 300 years of history.  We believe that by highlighting the many diverse tourism offerings, and encouraging new ones, we can provide unique, rewarding encounters for many more visitors to the “Jewel of the Mississippi” – Natchez.  But it is going to take all of us in the community to achieve the kind of success we believe is possible.

As representatives for the destination of Natchez, we have a responsibility to manage and use resources through the tourism taxes that fund our programs to further the positive economic impact and growth of the city and its stakeholders. In the end, we are one of many keepers of the future of Natchez and by working together, we can create a bright, positive future for our community and our residents, and attract more visitors.

We at Visit Natchez greatly appreciate the opportunity to serve the tourism industry in Natchez.  If you have questions or would like more information about Visit Natchez, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
Jennifer Ogden Combs is the executive director of the Natchez Convention Promotion Commission and Visit Natchez.