Thursday, August 30, 2007
Holly Springs Tourism and Recreation Bureau news
Summertime means vacation time and despite the unrelenting heat travelers still turned up at our door throughout the summer… especially during Elvis Week! The appeal of Elvis is understood but I was shocked and delighted to see the immense number of people passing through our tiny town to, of course, see Paul McLeod and Graceland Too! And being a star-stuck girl from Louisiana I was nowhere near prepared for the reporters and camera crews!
Hundreds of tourists and reporters from all over the world graced Paul’s front porch. Thankfully, many visitors came by the tourism office, giving our guestbook a worldly look, featuring signatures from all over the world — which included almost 200 members of the Elvis Presley Fan Club of Great Britain! Well, not all of them signed, of course.
In accordance with recent events, I’ve become more aware of the need to continue drawing in not only domestic but international crowds. Being just 45 minutes from Memphis International Airport, we really can benefit directly from efforts made throughout the country to bring international tourism to the U.S.
International travel adds more than $80 billion per year to the U.S. economy.
International travelers, statistically, spend more money and stay longer than domestic travelers.
Studies show that 74 percent of those who have visited the U.S. are more likely to have a favorable opinion of America and support U.S. policies.
Unfortunately, despite $200 million spent annually in marketing by U.S. companies, states and destinations, international travelers have continued to drastically decline since 9/11. Overseas travel to the U.S. has declined by 17 percent, resulting in $90 billion in lost revenue and 200,000 lost jobs — even though it is becoming cheaper and cheaper to visit the U.S., due to the decline of the U.S. dollar and the increased value of the Euro (European dollar).
Right now legislation to establish a nationally coordinated campaign to promote the U.S. as a premier travel destination is working through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. We need your help in pushing this bill through. Tell Congress it’s time for the U.S. to compete for travelers! August is an ideal time to contact both your Senators and Representatives; so please call, write or fax them and ask them to co-sponsor the “Travel Promotion Act of 2007”. Please visit our website (www.visithollysprings.org) for more information and sample letters to send your senators and representatives.
For those of you in the Holly Springs area, please see your contacts listed below; but for those of you in the surrounding areas, please go to: www.senate.gov and www.house.gov to find yours. With your assistance, we will soon join the rest of the world as a competitive destination for international visitors.
Thad Cochran- 113 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg., Washington, D.C., 20510 (202) 224-5054.
Trent Lott- 487 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg., Washington, D.C., 20510 (202) 224-6253.
Roger Wicker- 2350 Rayburn House Bldg., Washington DC, 20515 (202) 225-4306.
Oh and one quick reminder —we do have the Hummingbird Festival fast approaching so it is very important that we all do our part to make sure our town is inviting to guests. Last year’s event boasted 8,000 visitors so it’s important to make sure our yards are neat and to greet everyone with a smiling face so they are sure to return for future visits.
Tourism Traffic Report- July 19- August 28
• Thanks to a phenomenal job done by local tour group, Time Travel Tours, Holly Springs received 297 visitors on six buses who all glowed that Holly Springs was by far the best tour they ever had!
• Here at the tourism office we welcomed over 150 walk-ins and received an additional five group tours, giving us a total of 806 visitors! I believe that is a victory for the home team!
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