Mississippi’s tourism budget is among the lowest of any state in the country and while there are goals for increasing tourism, “The plan starts with more funding,” said Malcolm White, executive director of Mississippi Development Authority’s Tourism Division.
“This is a spend-money-to-make-money business,” he said.
Competing states and destinations have much larger budgets, and he said, “When everyone else is shouting, we’re whispering.”
The key is to use new technology to draw more visitors while continuing to cater to those already coming to the state, White said.
Neighboring destinations also are recovering their tourism revenues faster than Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Gulf oil spill in 2010.