Local leaders celebrate National Tourism Week

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TOOMSUBA, Miss. (WTOK) -- City, county and state leaders were on hand at the Lauderdale County Welcome Center Wednesday on Interstate 20/59 near Toomsuba.

Steve Azar performs at the Toomsuba Welcome Center (Photo Source: WTOK-TV)

It's all part of national travel and tourism week celebration. Meridian Mayor Percy Bland, state rep. Greg Snowden and Visit Mississippi Director Craig Ray were among the guests at the event.

Tourism is the fourth largest industry in Mississippi and over 1.3 million vehicles pass through Meridian on a yearly basis.

"We deploy several different tactics. One of those is targeting people's cell phones as they get near us, 90 miles out or so and make sure they know what's happening here in Meridian," said Dede Mogollon, the executive director for Visit Meridian. "We work with our hotels, and we work with our Lauderdale County Welcome Center staff and welcome centers across the state. It's a great way to reach all our visitors driving through."

The visitors were also treated to free car washes and to some music by country music star and Mississippi native Steve Azar.