Tourism group elects White interim leader

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Kristy White of Corinth on Tuesday was elected the interim president of the Mississippi Hills Heritage Area Alliance board.
The vacancy came open when Linda Johnson, the executive director of the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau, resigned as current president at the group’s annual meeting, citing her upcoming retirement June 30.
White, of the Corinth Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, also was elected president for the 2011 fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.
Mary-Kathryn Millner of the Oxford Convention and Visitors Bureau was elected vice president.
The alliance develops and markets cultural and heritage tourism products in a 30-county region of north Mississippi.
The group also oversees the marketing efforts of the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area.
The alliance used its annual meeting to recap its past year and to discuss the upcoming year. Many of the plans hinge on receiving federal money to fund projects, such as the development of the Heritage Center.
The Heritage Center, in the former P.B. Loco location, will be a tourist-friendly space inside the Renasant Center for IDEAs.
Bobby King, the program manager for the alliance, said the money has been approved for the group and the paperwork is being processed in Atlanta.
Along with the physical space, the alliance also is working on its web presence. During the past year, it partnered with Mississippi Public Broadcasting and added videos from “Mississippi Roads” with Walt Grayson.
It also launched into social media, creating a Twitter account (@MS_Hills) and a Facebook page (MS Hills National Heritage Area).
Plus, the Hills group is working with the Appalachian Regional Commission to fund a report that will help give specific direction as to how at least 12 tourism products in the region can be developed into stronger destinations.
Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@djournal.com.