Oxford starts six-month tourism study

By The Oxford Eagle/The Associated Press

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — The city of Oxford has hired Young Strategies Inc. to conduct a six-month study of the local tourism industry.

The Oxford Eagle reports that Berkeley Young, president of the firm, told local officials this week that what has worked in the past to attract tourists may be outdated.

He says traditional patterns of tourism are no longer easy to predict as most travelers plan on a whim.

Young says communities such as Oxford stand at the edge of an opportunity to attract more visitors. He says with the economy on the mend, more people are planning to fly, stay at hotels and drive for weekend getaways year round.

Industry officials expect the tourism trade will be up 3 percent to 6 percent this year.

“Technology has made us addicted to last-minute planning,” Young said.

As part of the study, Young Strategies Inc. will survey visitors to learn how to best market to travelers.

“Leisure travel is no longer just a luxury,” Young said. “For most, it is a form of therapy.”

Representatives of the firm will visit the community through the weekend and then they will begin a survey in June. The firm also plans to evaluate the Oxford Convention and Visitors Bureau and Oxford Conference Center.

The final report on Oxford’s tourism industry is scheduled to be presented in January. It will cost around $50,000.