Tupelo CVB reports rise in tourism

By DENNIS SEID / NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – If you build it – and promote it – they will come, even in a recession.
More than 267,000 people visited the top major attractions in Tupelo during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, and along with scores of sporting events, conventions, conferences and other activities, the economic impact grew to more than $63.8 million.
“We were pleased to see the numbers grow,” said Tupelo Convention amp& Visitors Bureau Executive Director Neal McCoy. “People still have a love for Elvis, for Tupelo, for sporting events, for all that we have to offer.”
The numbers came via the Tupelo CVB annual report, which was released Monday at its monthly board meeting.
The top attractions in Tupelo, including the Elvis Presley Birthplace, the Tupelo Buffalo Park & Zoo, the HealthWorks Kids Museum and Tupelo Automobile Museum, attracted 267,604 visitors last year, a 4.9 percent increase.
Other highlights from the report:
– 373 tour buses brought 16,376 visitors.
– 105 conventions, conferences and seminars brought 27,988 participants.
– 12 trade shows and expositions brought 103,698 participants.
– 136 special events brought 544,382 participants.
– 71 weddings and reunions brought 7,631 participants.
– 55 sporting events brought 59,820 visitors.
– 44 entertainment events at the BancorpSouth Arena brought 121,141 participants.
The total economic impact from all the events, including ticket sales, food and lodging, was $63,825,026, a 5.5 percent increase.
McCoy said the next step for the CVB is to review its marketing plan to get a better understanding of who’s visiting Tupelo and why.
“We want to do some research to determine who they are,” he said. “Who is the ‘average Joe’ coming to Tupelo? Is it somebody 55 to 60 years old making a certain income, for example? We want to better refine our marketing efforts.”
Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or dennis.seid@djournal.com.