By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The state’s top tourism official has resigned.
Mary Beth Wilkerson is the director of Mississippi Development Authority’s tourism division. The Okolona native has held the title since January 2010.
In an emailed statement to the Daily Journal, she said she is leaving to explore a new opportunity. Her last day is June 15.
She has been with MDA for 20 years and nine months.
It’s unclear who will fill the position. MDA’s tourism spokeswoman, Jennifer Spann, at 10:30 a.m. said there have been no official announcements made about Wilkerson’s departure.
The news hit the state’s tourism industry hard. Neal McCoy, executive director of the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau and president of the Mississippi Tourism Association, said he was sad to hear the news.
“I’m just not OK with it,” he said Thursday morning. “She’s been amazing. She’s been fantastic. She’s been a true visionary and moved our industry so far ahead. … You will not find anyone in this industry who was not a supporter or Mary Beth Wilkerson or a fan of her.”
Read Friday’s Journal for more information.