Local tourism agencies partner to form new association to attract visitors

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 6:33 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - As National Travel and Tourism Week kicks off, metro area tourism agencies are looking forward to a better summer.

While doing so they are joining forces to bring more people to the area and working together to build the industry hit hard during the pandemic.

“We all have the same mindset. Let’s join together and see what we can do,” said Kim Lewis.

The Visit Jackson Communications and Destination Development Manager is talking about a new collaboration of local tourism groups.

Canton Tourism, Visit Jackson, Visit Ridgeland and Vicksburg Tourism are now in partnership. It’s the Capital Area Tourism Association, or CATA, is expected to draw more people to the area.

“I think it’s important that we don’t feel like we are competing against each other,” said Lewis. “Vicksburg has amazing things that Jackson doesn’t, and Jackson has things that Ridgeland does not have. So coming together and bringing people to Mississippi in general is gonna benefit everyone.”

The state saw a 50 percent decline in tourism. Now pandemic restrictions are being lifted and officials say event bookings are increasing. In June the National Square Dance Convention will be held at the Jackson Convention Complex bringing 1,500-2,000 people.

Convention Complex General Manager Mark Arancibia said it will be the first citywide event at the facility since the pandemic.

“They are expecting a lot of folks for four or five days to come down to Jackson and stay in hotels, go to restaurants, really have a pretty large economic impact on the city,” said Arancibia.

Officials say each agency can play supporting roles.

“We need more hotels. So we’ll reach out to our surrounding communities,” added Lewis. “We’ve had a lot of time this last year and a half to build those relationships, to collaborate with those partners.”

“We’re all working toward the same goal and we can be more successful if we help each other,” added Arancibia.

The official announcement was made Monday afternoon at the District at Eastover.

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