VisitOxford emphasizing partnerships

town_oxford_greenBy Errol Castens

Daily Journal

OXFORD – Fielding visitor interests from food to Faulkner and the blues, VisitOxford is emphasizing a variety of partnerships to bring tourists to Oxford and the region around it.

Executive Director Mary Allyn Hedges said Oxford’s tourism promotion agency is pursuing joint efforts with local groups and others across the South.

One such recent endeavor was a free tour on Oxford’s double-decker English bus of historic sites around the city and the University of Mississippi, in tandem with the University Museum.

Another joint effort, this one with a neighboring town and the statewide tourism agency, could result in a new literary heritage attraction.

“We’re partnering with New Albany to apply for a byway designation for the Faulkner Scenic Byway,” Hedges said.

VisitOxford will join the Ole Miss Alumni Association’s Rebel Road Trip which in April also is doing cross-promotions with the Southern Literary Conference, which coincides with next week’s Oxford Conference for the Book.

Novice visitors unfamiliar with Oxford’s layout will benefit from sign additions from VisitOxford’s partnership with the state and the city.

“MDOT is adding some signage at the Lamar exit on Highway 6 and the University exit on Highway 7,” Hedges told members of the VisitOxford board of directors Wednesday. The city will be adding new wayfinding signs, she added.

Hedges also noted that the Mississippi Development Association’s tourism division is promoting different aspects of Mississippi heritage to lure tourism.

“Oxford is all over their culinary and literary ads,” she said.

VisitOxford will have a prominent part when Supertalk Mississippi’s “Head to Head” broadcasts live from the April 4 grand opening of FNC Park’s Indoor Practice Facility, and Hedges plans to host a monthly show, “Tourism Talk,” on Q93 beginning April 8.

Based on a recommendation from travel consultant Berkeley Young, Oxford’s Board of Aldermen significantly increased VisitOxford’s advertising budget this year.

“One of the ads we placed was in Country Living magazine in their ‘Great Getaways’ guide,” said Kinney Ferris, VisitOxford’s assistant director. “Oxford also was featured in the March-April edition of the AAA Southern Traveler … about culinary stops throughout Mississippi … mailed to over 200,000 members.”

errol.castens@journalinc.com