March 1, 2023

Members of the Mississippi tourism industry gather for Mississippi Tourism Day at the Capitol on Wednesday, March 1, 2023

The Mississippi Tourism Association (MTA) hosted its annual Tourism Day at the Capitol today with special guests Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, Speaker of the House Philip Gunn and statewide tourism professionals to share the tourism industry’s $7.1 billion impact on the state economy and highlight ongoing recovery efforts.

Governor Tate Reeves stated, “Congratulations to the members of the Mississippi Tourism Association, and thank you for the hard work you do to share the beauty of our state with visitors from around the world. The multi-billion-dollar impact the tourism industry has on our economy is vital to our state’s success and helps to bolster great small businesses and strengthen vibrant local communities. You need only to look at how Mississippi led the nation in tourism recovery in 2020 to see the commitment that our state has to investing in and growing this industry. I look forward to continuing to work with you to help even more tourists fall in love with Mississippi.”

In 2022, Mississippi welcomed 24 million visitors, who spent $7.1 billion in local economies and generated $749 million in state and local taxes. This 5.1 percent increase in visitor spending can be attributed to both the legislature’s swift and strategic creation of tourism recovery funding and the rebound of travel and tourism. Notably, FY22 tourism revenues contributed $461.2 million, or 6.42 percent, to the $7.18 billion state general fund, or $1 of every $16. This was a $46.6 million increase from FY21, showing that tourism investment provides a tremendous ROI that also helps fund other initiatives for our state.

“We are committed to ensuring our tourism economy not only recovers but continues to thrive. We have worked closely and intentionally with our tourism leaders around the state to ensure we keep this $7 billion industry growing because we know an investment in tourism also grows the state’s overall economy,” said Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann. “Having a strong tourism infrastructure is key to meeting our future economic development goals.”

MTA also emphasized the importance of its tourism partners and their leadership as the industry works to recover steep financial losses and grow revenue.Scarlet Pearl Casino CEO, LuAnn Pappas, shared the story of her fruitful career in the hospitality industry that started with her position as a retail shift supervisor in Atlantic City, noting the value of hospitality jobs and the significant career opportunities that are available.

“As our fourth-largest industry, tourism is not only an important economic driver that generates billions of dollars for Mississippi, but it is our calling card to the world,” said Speaker of the House Philip Gunn. “The hospitality of our people makes Mississippi an incredible place to visit and to call home. Mississippi has been a national leader in tourism recovery and that is why the House of Representatives is committed to helping our tourism destinations around the state keep that recovery momentum going. This vital sector certainly contributes to our revenue surplus.”

“We are thrilled to be able to celebrate the significant impact tourism has on Mississippi’s economy,” said MTA Executive Director Danielle Morgan. “We are seeing visitation numbers near pre-pandemic levels and visitor spending exceeding 2019 levels due to the deliberate approach to recovery and the dedication of our members and state leaders who have invested effort and resources to help us not only recover but to also grow tourism revenues. We are committed to our continued advocacy work and partnering with leaders to continue to transform Mississippi’s economy through tourism.”

MTA’s membership is led by a board of directors, and Ridgeland Tourism Commission President and CEO Chris Chapman is currently serving as the association’s president.

“On behalf of the MS Tourism Association, we share our sincere gratitude to state leaders for placing their confidence in our industry and for making tourism recovery a priority. These investments were key to Mississippi’s significant recovery in accommodations and food services sectors, which grew 88 percent year over year in 2021, outpacing our adjacent states. Because of this forward-thinking approach, Mississippi continues to be a leader in tourism recovery,” said Chapman.