Three-state Natchez Trace marketing group wins national award

Published 11:38 am Tuesday, July 19, 2022

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NATCHEZ — The Natchez Trace Compact, which serves as the official marketing arm of the Natchez Trace Parkway, recently won the National Scenic Byways Foundation Partnership Award. In a field of almost 200 National Scenic Byways, only eight awards were presented during the Heartland Byway Conference in Leavenworth, Kansas, on May 4, 2022.

“The town of Natchez is proud to be the beginning point, and namesake of the Natchez Trace Parkway and I’ve been honored to serve as a member of the Natchez Trace Compact,” said Devin Heath, executive director of Visit Natchez. “Visitors who travel the Natchez Trace find such a variety of true American experiences throughout each destination along the parkway’s 444 miles.”

As a unit of the National Park System, the Natchez Trace Parkway travels 444 miles, year-round through three states and 10,000 years of North American history. This National Scenic Byway and All-American Road links Natchez with Nashville and crosses some of the most beautiful terrain in the states of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.

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Compact members, who meet quarterly to discuss marketing initiatives for the Parkway and adjacent communities, held their annual meeting on July 12. National Park representatives and destination marketing organization (DMO) members gathered in Tupelo, Miss. where they accepted the award as a group.

The Compact members were recognized for partnering their time, money and resources to create a COVID recovery strategic plan that was designed and implemented throughout 2020. The plan’s goal was to encourage visitation to the many socially distanced opportunities along the Parkway to assist communities in generating an economic impact through travel and tourism.

Partners combined money from their individual DMOs and the state tourism offices to share information regarding COVID protocols, closures and openings of attractions, hotels and restaurants as well as activities that met socially distanced recommendations. Their message was clear, “Explore the Trace, Discover America.” Utilizing an advertising and public relations campaign helped to reach a national audience. The group also hosted national travel writers Kristin Luna of Camels & Chocolate and Wall Street Journal travel writer Andrew Nelson. Both writers came to the Natchez Trace and visited the communities along the way. The exposure gained with the captured images and features of the writers assisted the Parkway in achieving some of the largest visitation numbers in decades.

For a full list of award recipients, visit