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Welcome back to Natchez, tourists

COVID-19 dealt a tough blow to businesses of every stripe, but none more so, perhaps, than those businesses associated with tourism.

Natchez is a tourism town and virtually every business in town has been affected by the downturn in tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first tourism casualty in Natchez was Spring Pilgrimage that had to be abruptly postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 15 the day after it began.

Spring Pilgrimage never resumed after the postponement, but fortunately Natchez Pilgrimage Tours has resumed tours of historic and museum houses this weekend operating under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other applicable COVID-19 guidelines.

NPT officials said the presales for next weekend, which is Father’s Day weekend, are picking up as are ticket sales for the fall pilgrimage.

We are encouraged by the uptick in tourism, evidenced not only by the pilgrimage tours ticket presales but also by the reopening of the Natchez Visitor Center and other signs that tourism is returning.

Natchez is making tourists feel safe to return by actively following COVID-19 safety protocols.

As Natchez National Park Superintendent Kathleen Bond said, Natchez and its residents are inherently hospitable. Therefore, tourists should feel comfortable returning to Natchez.

We couldn’t agree more and the sooner tourists return to Natchez, the better off all of our businesses will be.