Tourism conference teaches weekend getaway planning
CLEVELAND, Miss. -- Business-minded Mississippians who realize that tourism is a lucrative enterprise that reaches far beyond the state’s beaches will have an opportunity for training and funding in October.
Leveraging Cultural Tourism for Community Development is a two-day workshop planned for Oct. 13-14 in Cleveland, Mississippi. It will teach anyone interested and involved in tourism how to design tours, create weekend getaways and capitalize on current tourism trends and resources available in the Mississippi Delta.
William Poindexter, a Mississippi State University Extension Service associate working on rural tourism efforts in the MSU Center for Government and Community Development, said the workshop will help participants generate ideas for possible tourism opportunities in their areas.
“The workshop will focus on music tourism, which is a huge attraction in Cleveland, and give those who attend the building blocks to design an itinerary for a weekend getaway in their area,” he said. “We want to help people offer a full tourism experience for their area and drive the current tourists to our small businesses, area artists and even outdoor attractions.”
This agenda not only serves as a roadmap for planning upcoming events, but also encourages participants to enter their ideas in a contest sponsored by the Mississippi-Louisiana Rural Tourism Education and Outreach Initiative. The top entrant will win $1,000 to market the plan for a weekend tourism getaway that highlights cultural attractions in Mississippi or Louisiana. The deadline to enter the contest is Dec. 1, and winners will be announced later this year.
Workshop attendance is $25 per person, with a group rate of $75 for up to five people. Registration closes Sept. 30.
A special treat is an Oct. 13 performance by Street Corner Symphony, part of the Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series. An optional tour of the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi will be offered when the workshop concludes.
“We are absolutely thrilled to host this informative and educational workshop here in Cleveland,” said Kelli Carr, Cleveland tourism director. “Tourism is the fourth largest economic contributor to the state of Mississippi, and the industry is something that many rural areas can capitalize on. We all have a story to tell.”
The MSU Extension Service is partnering with Delta State University, the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce, Cleveland Tourism, Team Cleveland Main Street, the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors and the city of Cleveland. Contact the Bolivar County Extension office at 662-843-8362 or visit http://gcd.msucares.com/creating-weekend-experience/upcoming-events for more information.