Thursday January 22, 2009
Reflecting on a year of successes for Holly Springs
According to Craig Ray, Mississippi Development Authority Tourism director, “this has been a very interesting year for tourism nationwide.” Mississippi had fewer visitors but spending was up more than $450 million which is a very encouraging, positive sign. People are staying longer and they are obviously having great experiences, so we can expect nothing but an increase in visitor traffic for 2009!
Although over all tourism is down, we have had an above stellar year here at the Tourism Bureau. We have welcomed almost 3,000 visitors in 2008 and have seen a 50-60 percent increase in most event attendance! We have been featured in countless publications which include: The 50 Best Small Southern Towns, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, Off the Beaten Path, Blues Traveling, Must See Mississippi, DeSoto Magazine, National Geographic Traveler, Amtrak Magazine, Ya’ll Magazine, Mississippi Magazine, At Home Tennessee, NWA World Traveler Magazine, Invitation Magazine, V.I.P. Jackson Magazine, Southern Living and The New York Times just to name a few.
Our most recent article, “Songs of the South” was featured in Preservation Magazine which spotlighted Holly Springs’ local blues and general music culture. The article can be viewed at www.preservationnation.org/magazine or by stopping in at the Tourism Bureau office.
You may have also seen our TV commercials which aired on many Comcast stations such as The Food Network, HGTV, The History Channel, Headline News and Lifetime to promote the Spring Pilgrimage of Homes, the Christmas Home Tours and the Vietnam Memorial Wall Exhibit.
We have also partnered with many organizations throughout the year. We, along with Amy Heaton, director of the Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce, attended and passed out materials to visitors at the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic as well as the Hummingbird Migration Celebration. We will continue to work closely with organizations such as the chamber of commerce and the newly formed Holly Springs Main Street.
The Mississippi Hills Heritage Area Alliance is moving along well and we are a few steps closer to becoming a National Heritage Area. The bill to designate the Hills Area as one of only 25 nationally recognized heritage areas, has passed through the Senate and is now in the House of Representatives.
We have also begun telling the story of our great music heritage with the placement of our first Mississippi Blues Trail marker honoring Holly Springs’ natives R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough. Two benefit concerts were held to pay for the marker, thanks to organizers Sara Davis, Kenny Brown and Chico Harris as well as family and friends who performed. We also received private donations via our website www.visithollysprings.org and MySpace www.myspace.com /hollyspringsbluestrail. We are looking forward to erecting our second marker honoring Rust College and the Johnson Brothers.
Tourism Traffic report
• As mentioned before, we have welcomed 2,978 visitors in 2008 and have seven group tours scheduled for the coming months. As always, if you need any additional information on attractions and events in the Holly Springs area, please visit our website at www.visithollysprings.org where you can also sign up to receive our email newsletter. You can also give us a call at 662-252-2515 or stop by our office for a visit, 104 E. Gholson Ave.!
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