Meridian seeing high levels in traveling tourists

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 8:41 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The summer travel season is here, and thousands stop in the Queen city to shop, eat and explore!

Attendance is up at many of Meridian’s popular tourist attractions.

That’s great news after the pandemic devastated the local and state tourism industry last year.

“Meridian is outperforming a lot of the other communities in Mississippi. As a matter of fact, we are only second to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and year to date we’re only 2% behind where the Mississippi Gulf Coast is this year in hotel occupancy,” said Meridian Lauderdale County Tourism Executive Director, Dede Mogollon.

Families who stayed home and sheltered in place last year are ready to get out and have a little fun! Tourist destinations like the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience and the Mississippi Children’s Museum are seeing large crowds. Local, spring festivals were also packed with visitors.

“Just enjoying the people and the history and it’s really just much richer than I think most people know. There’s just a lot to see and do in Meridian. I’ve always stopped at Weidmann’s coming through for lunch. Going one way or the other and I still want to do that, but I’ve learned of a lot of other places now and a lot of other connections that are fascinating. We’re going to see the museums and we’re here in the Riley Center, just an amazing array of what Meridian has put together,” said Meridian visitor, Dr. Bill Curry.

Meridian tourism focuses on digital advertising and targets cities like Memphis and Mobile. Those are new markets for Meridian tourism.

“Through social media, on websites. To make sure that when people were ready to travel, Meridian was in their minds. We received cares act funding last year that was spent in the fall and the winter, getting everybody ready for when they were traveling. We launched a new website last year, a new visitor guides the year before that. We truly think the efforts that we made and the messaging that we put out there is what’s helping us outperform most communities in Mississippi, “said Mogollon.

Meridian tourism said restaurants and hotels generate about $2 million in local revenue.

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