Playing our roles

The importance of tourism to the Mississippi and the Union County economy cannot be overstated. It is as important, or more so, than any individual business or industry.

And we are all a part of the tourism industry, whether we are directly involved in the hospitality industry, a museum or park or we are just being friendly when we meet people we don’t know at a restaurant or on the street.
That tourism takes many forms and we suspect that much of it goes unnoticed by most residents of our county. Take for example last Thursday. Forty-six gifted students and chaperones from Jefferson Middle School in Columbia, Miss., showed up here to spend some time and see the Ingomar Indian Mound.
Jill Smith, Union County Heritage Museum director, and her volunteers met up with them, conducted a scavenger hunt, a session in the outdoor classroom and a hands-on demonstration of ancient weapons. Group members had such a good time that they left a $100 donation for the museum.
Then the group ate pizza at a local restaurant, and had plans to go bowling, take in a movie and stay overnight in one of our hotels. The teacher said she liked the Union County visit so much she intends to bring another group.
Lots of people, whether school classes, teams at Sportsplex tournaments, bus tours or just individuals, stop in town to enjoy our hospitality – and, yes, spend some money.
Supporting tourism in its many forms is a key to growing our economy and improving our community. Everyone needs to play a role because tourism is the business of all of us.