Just shy of two months on the job, and the new head of tourism for Meridian and Lauderdale County says there are preliminary plans to open a Meridian Visitors Center.
'We are researching, and more than likely we're going to move forward with creating that Meridian Visitors Center here, so, when people come to town that's the first place they stop off and we have an opportunity to capture them and tell them what all there is to do in Meridian,' says Dede Mogollon.
At this center, Mogollon says local memorabilia will be sold and visitors will be able to learn about the attractions that are already here, such as some hunting and fishing sites which already draw crowds.
Also she says efforts are being made to develop literature that highlights the local sites from the Civil War and Civil Rights eras.
"What a lot of people don't understand is that people travel to see these sort of things. We had a list from the state of 20 bus tours set to come to Mississippi. We were asked to send them information; 10 out of those 20 buses tours either wanted Civil War or civil rights era information. We currently have nothing that illustrates what we have comprehensively for that type of tourism."
Mogollon projects that turning the spotlight on these local attractions could bring a substantial amount of additional revenue to the local economy.
'We're not Chicago; we're not Los Angeles, but we are this great authentic city and people want authentic these days!'
Anyone interested in volunteering with the Meridian/Lauderdale County Tourism Office can call (601) 482-8001 or log onto www.visitmeridian.com
Tourism is big business. In fact, records show that last month alone more than 30,000 visitors stopped at the Welcome Center in Toomsuba.