VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) - A group of tourism officials will meet
this week to come up with ideas to promote rural areas in
Mississippi and Louisiana.
The Miss-Lou Rural Tourism Association is comprised of 16
parishes in Louisiana and 17 Mississippi counties that are located
near the Mississippi River and Gulf Coast.
The group hold its third annual summit in Vicksburg Tuesday
through Thursday at the Southern Cultural Heritage Center.
The event is hosted by different departments in the two states
and will provide information through seminars and field trips on
the Mississippi River.
The goal is to teach tourism officials, landowners and the
public how to promote their rural communities as agri-tourism,
recreational and historical destinations.
"A lot of visitors will - if they're heading for New Orleans -
be zipping through the state and not realize what they're passing
by," said association president Sally Durkin. "A lot of the
little communities have things to offer that may be of interest to
tourists, but the people of those communities don't know how to get
The summit will explain several ways small communities can use
their existing resources - like museums, historical buildings and
old churches, festivals and agriculture industries - to create
"There's not much in Tupelo, but guess who was born there?
Elvis," Durkin said. "Thousands of people go through there to see
the birthplace of Elvis. People will pay money to see these
attractions, and even if they're just buying gas or grabbing a
soda, they're in effect putting money into that rural community."
Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Program Director
Kay Burton in Mississippi said the association "fits" Lincoln
County, as it has plenty of rural and agricultural attractions -
like farm and local history tours - that can be marketed as
One of the biggest attractions in the county, she said, is
Brookhaven's downtown district.
"Our downtown is a tourist attraction," Burton said. "It's
not a big thing, but it draws a lot of people. People just love to
come down and see our local history."
Information from: The Daily Leader, http://www.dailyleader.com