• 84°

National Travel & Tourism week is upon us

This week, Visit Natchez is joining the travel and tourism industry across the nation to celebrate National Travel & Tourism Week. Created by Congress in 1983, this annual event shines a spotlight on the economic power and importance of travel and tourism to our communities, our residents and our businesses and economy.

Each year, we look forward to planning and offering events and programs throughout the week that support and celebrate our community and tourism partners, our small businesses and the individuals who are the very heart of our industry, an industry that is so vitally important to our local economy. This year’s theme is the “Spirit of Travel” and while we aren’t able to meet together to celebrate, we’re taking this opportunity to remind our residents, stakeholders and visitors of the incredible spirit and resiliency of our local tourism partners and workforces and to share some of our plans for recovery.

One of our programs this week is a Public Relations, Social, and Digital webinar on Thursday, May 7, presented by the Lou Hammond Group and Advance Travel and Tourism who will share the latest information on our early response to the COVID-19 crisis, trends and consumer sentiment regarding future travel plans, marketing strategies for recovery as travel begins to come back, and tips that might be helpful to our partners on how to be prepared when reopening. This webinar will be approximately one hour, beginning at 11 a.m. If you are interested in joining, or have questions about the webinar, please email shall@visitnatchez.org. And be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for other fun and engaging content throughout the week. 

We are also sending out surveys to our tourism partners this week including lodging, food and beverage, attractions/tours, and retail businesses regarding your plans for re-opening. Please know your responses will be completely confidential and will not be shared with anyone else, but will help us not only for planning purposes and to provide up to date information for visitors, but also in case there is support that Visit Natchez can offer.

Without a doubt, the travel and hospitality industry has been among the hardest hit from the effects of COVID-19 and has brought unprecedented challenges as a result of this devastating pandemic. U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said recently, “Through every hardship, I find myself in awe of the travel industry’s ability to join together, adapt and emerge stronger than before. This is our toughest challenge yet, but what I’ve seen is that the spirit of travel has not been shattered.”

The Spirit of travel isn’t found only in far-off places. We see it everywhere right here in our community. It’s found in the beauty we see every day. It’s found in our rich, diverse history and culture. It’s found in our soulful music and delicious food. It’s found in the magic of our Mississippi sunsets. But most of all, the spirit of travel is found in our people, with our warm, welcoming hospitality, and also in our courage, our strength and resiliency. It’s found in our commitment to support our local businesses and help our neighbors. It’s found in our dedication to doing whatever it takes to get through an inconceivably tough time. We will come back from this – through careful, strategic, fact-based decisions and planning, creative solutions, and by working together. It’s only a matter of time before travel begins again, and with all the research pointing to destinations like ours at the top of the list in traveler interest, we plan to be more ready than ever to welcome visitors with open arms. The team at Visit Natchez is grateful for the opportunity to serve our community and this awesome place we call home.

Jennifer Ogden Combs is executive director of Visit Natchez.