State tourism officials to lobby lawmakers for more money

JACKSON — Tourism officials will ask lawmakers for more money next year to boost Mississippi’s advertising efforts.

The Natchez Democrat reports tourism in Mississippi produces $390 million annually, approximately 8.1 percent of the state general fund.

For every dollar spent in advertising for Mississippi tourism, the state receives five in return, said Sandy Bynum, bureau manager of the communications and advertising bureau of the Mississippi Development Authority’s tourism division.

Currently, the division has $1.8 million to invest, she said.

“The states around us have $25 million more to invest in advertising over Mississippi,” Bynum said. “To be very competitive we need to do better, and we can.”

Ward Emling, the manager for the MDA’s film office, said some legislative efforts for the tourism industry will be to provide incentives to bring more film work to the state.

“We have a good incentive program, but unfortunately the place across the river has some advantages over us,” he said. “We will try to address that in the Legislature.”

The Mississippi Tourism Association held its regional meeting in Natchez Tuesday to discuss the benefits of tourism and future strategies for the industry.

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