Tourism Official Cautiously Optimistic

Numbers released through the Mississippi Hotel and Lodging Association show the Lauderdale County tourism office is not operating in the red.

"I'm excited about them, because for the first time, we are now operating in the black as for as numbers," said tourism director, Suzy Johnson. "As a matter of fact, I am in the plus at this point about $4,400, which is great."

The latest numbers show that for the month of March, Meridian and Lauderdale County had the second highest rate for tourism in the state. That's only behind Biloxi.

"We've had a number of tournaments. We had a soccer tournament that was a tremendous economic impact for us and just the fact, our location off 20/59 makes it very convenient for people to stop," Johnson said.

Compared to the same time last year, Johnson says numbers for March reflect a 10 point jump in tourism for this area.

Johnson says things are looking good for the summer, with all hotels, including the newest one along the interstate, already booked for the State Games of Mississippi next month.

With the last four months of the fiscal year historically being the strongest for local tourism, Johnson says she is cautiously optimistic about the future.

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