As we reported yesterday, the state's tourism director, Mary Beth Wilkerson, has resigned. Read our previous coverage here.
MDA spokesmen yesterday said they didn't know about the resignation in the morning and in the afternoon didn't return another call for comment.
This morning, MDA sent out this press release:
Jackson, Miss. (June 1, 2012) – The state’s tourism director informed the Mississippi Development Authority’s Interim Executive Director Jim Barksdale, tourism staff and industry partners on Wednesday that she is resigning her post to take a position with the Ridgeland Tourism Commission.
MDA Tourism Director Mary Beth Wilkerson is leaving her position effective June 15, 2012. Wilkerson, who has been with the state tourism office for 20 years and nine months, has served as MDA Tourism Director for two and a half years.
“The Tourism Division of MDA promotes Mississippi as a travel destination by highlighting the state’s culture, heritage, history, natural resources, outdoor and recreational opportunities,” said Barksdale. “Mississippi has had an experienced, dedicated and wonderful leader in Mary Beth Wilkerson. I know that she will continue to be an asset to developing our state tourism product.”
In her capacity as tourism director for Mississippi, Wilkerson has:
• Coordinated and unveiled Mississippi’s new branding initiative, including the strapline, “Find Your True South;
• Provided statewide leadership and direction for regional partnerships like the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area and the Natchez Trace Compact;
• Developed one of the state’s first marketing opportunities to showcase the state through promotional campaign partnerships among MDA, tourism partners statewide and major Mississippi manufacturers, such as Toyota and Viking.
• Actively supported state events including a key role in the development of the Mississippi Blues and Country Music Trails.
• Recruited with the Mississippi Film Office (part of MDA’s Tourism Division) the production of DreamWorks’ The Help to Mississippi.
“I am grateful for the rewarding career I have had with this agency and am honored to have served as the state tourism director,” stated Wilkerson. “I will continue to be committed to the tourism industry in Mississippi. This is a good decision for me personally and professionally.”
No mention who will replace Wilkerson.