ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — Tourism in Mississippi generated expenditures of $5.97 billion from 20.8 million visitors in fiscal year 2011 (July 2010-July 2011), according to figures released by the Tourism division of the Mississippi Development Authority. During that same period, tourism contributed $438.4 million to the state’s tax coffers.
These and other figures are available in the latest edition of the “Travel and Tourism Economic Contribution Report: True Results” published by the Mississippi Development Authority’s Tourism Division.
“Total visitors and visitor expenditures are up from the previous fiscal year. Mississippi has successfully braved both economic challenges and natural disasters, which is encouraging news for the tourism industry and the state as a whole,” said Mary Beth Wilkerson, director of MDA Tourism. “A strong tourism industry is essential to the growth and stability of the state’s economy. We must continue to work diligently to promote the state’s abundant resources, attractions, events and talent to keep visitors coming—and returning—for both leisure and business travel.”
Other highlights from this year’s report include:
• 2.46 million persons were served at the state’s 12 Welcome Centers
• Over 49,300 Welcome Center registrants were international travelers
• Travel and Tourism comprised 4.0 percent of the state Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
• Average visitor stay was 2.9 nights
Wilkerson said, “Tourism generates over 82,000 direct jobs and countless indirect jobs across Mississippi. That represents a substantial and tangible return on our marketing efforts and one reason we continue to develop strategies to expand tourism in all areas, including golf, outdoors, conventions and the international market.”