Representatives from Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) and Mississippi Development Authority (MDA), Division of Tourism, recently traveled along Mississippi Highway 82 as part of a regional tourism initiative to celebrate its designation as the state’s first Heritage Highway.
MMSA and MDA Tourism representatives explored the towns and cities of Columbus, Eupora, Greenville, Greenwood, Indianola, Kilmichael, Leland, Starkville, Vaiden and Winona from May 10-12 during National Tourism Week.
The travelers convened at designated times and places; otherwise, everyone ate, shopped and toured on their as cultural heritage tourists.
Each individual kept up with his or her own expenses and an estimated $4,528 was spent during the weekend. Money was spent on lodging, food and beverage, transportation (gasoline), and retail.
The group recorded and captured the road trip through social media. More than 25,000 hits were recorded on Facebook over the 3-day period.
“The diverse cultural heritage assets along Heritage Highway 82 – architecture, literary, music, culinary, history, art – all provide a rich, authentic Mississippi cultural heritage experience,” said Sarah McCullough, Cultural Heritage Program Manager, MDA Tourism. “To fully experience all of Heritage Highway 82 would take several days.”
“Given that $4,500 was spent by a small number of independent travelers in only two days, the potential economic impact on these communities and rural areas is immeasurable,” McCullough said. “Cultural heritage travelers also spend more, travel more, and stay longer than other travelers.”
Part of the Heritage Highway 82 Road Trip included a reception at the Cotesworth Center for Culture and Heritage in North Carrollton.
Members of the Williams family, who have owned the historic home and surrounding farm for generations, were present as well as state legislators, mayors and local and state leaders in tourism.
State legislators attending included: Sen. Lydia Chassaniol, Tourism Chair, Winona; Sen. Terry Brown, President Pro Tempore, Columbus; Sen. John Polk, Universities and Colleges Chair, Hattiesburg; Sen. Giles Ward, Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Chair, Louisville; Sen. Chris Massey, Nesbit; and Rep. Rita Martinson, Tourism Chair, Madison.
“I will not soon forget walking up the front walk at Coteswoth, listening to Dr. Sanders and being amazed that this jewel existed for all to enjoy,” said Bob Wilson, MMSA Executive Director. “I really wanted to share that image, feeling and experience with everyone I knew in Mississippi and throughout the country.”
“Thanks to Sen. Chassaniol, Rep. Martinson, Gloria Kellum and everyone else for their hard work over the years and for allowing us to be a part of Cotesworth in the future,” Wilson said.
See pictures and posts from the trip at the MMSA Facebook page.
Source: Mississippi Main Street Association