Mississippi Tourism Association applauds accomplishments of state’s tourism industry

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The Mississippi Tourism Association (MTA) recognized the impact and accomplishments of the state’s tourism industry at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism held at the Trotter Convention Center in Columbus, Miss. on Sept. 22-24, 2019.

This annual educational and professional development event brought together more than 250 tourism industry professionals from across the state as well as tourism partners from the surrounding region.

The awards program gives MTA the opportunity to recognize the best of the best from their 300+-member organization.  Awards were presented in 15 categories, each focusing on a different aspect of the hospitality industry or individual achievement.

“Not only does the Governor’s Conference on Tourism allow us to recognize our outstanding peers, it also provides the opportunity for advancement in education, so we, as professionals, can continue to expand our impact in the state,” said Annette Rand, 2019-2020 president of MTA.  “As the fourth largest industry in Mississippi, we are key contributors to our state’s economy, and we only want to continue that growth.  Those we honored at this conference are certainly helping us to achieve that goal.”

Visitors in Mississippi spent an estimated $6.5 billion in 2018, a 4.2% percent increase over 2017 numbers.  As visitor spending increased, so did the overall number of visitors.  In 2018, Mississippi hosted 24 million visitors who helped to support more than 127,000 jobs.

During the conference, the following were honored for their dedication, creativity, impact in the industry and individual award criteria:

The award winners for 2019 were as follows:

1.  Destination Marketing Organization of the Year (DMO) of the Year – $0 – $499,000
Visit Columbus

2.  Destination Marketing Organization of the Year (DMO) – $500,000 to $999,000
DeSoto County Tourism

3.  Destination Marketing Organization of the Year (DMO) – over $1 million
Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau

4.  Travel Attraction of the Year
Spirits of the Passage Special Exhibit

5.  Small Festival/Event of the Year
Cathead Jam

6.  Large Festival/Event of the Year
USA International Ballet Competition

7.  Tourism Achievement Award
Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association

8.  MTA Member of the Year
Rickey Thigpen, Visit Jackson

9.  Social Media Campaign of the Year
Follow Me to Jackson

10.  Best Social Media Strategy
Coastal Mississippi

11.  Best Social Media Presence
Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau

12.  Governmental Tourism Leadership Award
Mayor Carolyn McAdams, Greenwood

13.  Tourism Investment Award
Hines & Duckworth: The District

14.  Tourism Promotion of the Year
Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau

15.  Travel Media Award
Charles McCool, McCool Travel

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