By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal
Tupelo joined the rest of the country last week in celebrating National Tourism Week. The Tupelo Convention amp& Visitors Bureau held several public meetings to present a new tourism market analysis from consultant Berkeley Young. Young, of North Carolina-based Young Strategies, was hired a year ago to do a comprehensive research analysis of the Tupelo tourism market and to make short-term and long-term strategic recommendations.
He spoke with business reporter Carlie Kollath about his research.
Q: What are Tupelo’s greatest tourism assets?
A: You have a unique brand built around Elvis Presley and mid-century Americana, which includes the auto museum, hardware store, Oren Dunn City Museum and downtown. It all comes together to give the visitor a unique experience. Your future is bright because the research confirms that the long-term plan that your civic leaders have been working on for the past decade is right on track and will make this a great getaway for the traveling public.
Q: What are Tupelo’s greatest tourism challenges?
A: Getting over your humility. Tupelo has an opportunity to brag and put a message out and really do some exciting things. Your civic leaders have an exciting vision for downtown and everyone needs to get on board. It will create a better quality of life for the citizens. A great place to live is a great place to visit. Tupelo has a lot of the pieces in place. It just needs to connect the dots and pull it all together.
Q: What’s the next step?
A: The next step for the CVB is to aggressively go after small groups of 15 to 30 people to fill facilities and hotel rooms. For the community, it’s to work aggressively to complete Main Street and downtown revitalization plans, including the entertainment district. The lack of evening entertainment is the No. 1 issue with all segments of travelers who come here. So, the goal is to have something fun to do every night. Put the fun in Tupelo. There’s plenty of fun here. It’s helping the travelers find it and extending it to every night.