The Meridian Lauderdale County Tourism Board has suffered over the past decade because of a high Executive Director turnover rate. Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors President Joe Norwood credits that to the position being quite demanding.
"It requires someone to come in that knows how to balance a Board of Commissioners on the tourism side, and a Board of Supervisors on this side."
They think they have found that person in Dede Mogollon, a Meridian native who has worked in the hospitality industry for 25 years, including time in California, and most recently helping open the MSU Riley Center as the Conference Salesperson.
"Between that and my job as a hotel manager here in town, I've interacted with visitors and conventioneers, I feel that I have a great knowledge of what people are looking for when they come to Meridian."
The tourism board is funded through a 2.5% hotel tax that generates between $500,00-$600,000 a year, so the more people that visit, the bigger the budget.
"Ultimately the term we use is 'Their job is to get as many heads in beds as they possibly can get,'" said Joe Norwood.
The tourism board's main job is to help support events being held, and to bring as many people to the area as possible.
"Last Thursday you look at how many people came to town. We support the missions of the MSU Riley Center in bringing conventions and patrons to events, as well as all of our attractions like Merrehope and Jimmie Rodgers. We've got so much to offer here in Meridian."
If you want to learn more about the Meridian Lauderdale County Tourism Board, you can log on to their website at www.visitmeridian.com.