2021 Governor’s Conference

2021 Governor’s Conference on Tourism

October 20-22, 2021
Jackson, Mississippi

Information on this page is constantly being updated. Please check back periodically.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Optional Afternoon Activities – Space is limited. SIGN UP LINKS COMING SOON
  • More than a Tourist – Downtown Jackson Walking Tour
    • Learn about Mississippi’s Capital City. This 75-minute stroll of the city will show you some highlights of where it all began. We will discover Jackson’s past, present, and future from the Old Capitol Building & Smith Park to the Woolworth’s Sit-in site to the Mississippi Museum of Art (MMA).
    • Route subject to change/update
    • $25/person
    • 2pm-3:15pm
    • Begin/end at the MMA
  • ‘SIPP and Paint w/Reshonda Perryman
    • Join us for an interactive art class lead by Visit Jackson’s Creative Design Manager and the muralist behind “JXN Icons” while sipping complimentary Cathead Sparkling Cocktails. Each attendee will take home an original piece of artwork.
    • $25/person
    • 3:30pm-5pm
    • Outdoors at the Mississippi Museum of Art
    • Maximum of 30 attendees
2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Excellence in Tourism Leadership Program – Kick off Course
Understanding Personalities, Leadership, and Working with Others (Real Colors)
3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Exhibitor Set-Up & Registration
Jackson Convention Complex
3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Silent Auction Item Drop Off
Jackson Convention Complex
7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Opening Reception
The Faulkner
Sponsored by Visit Jackson
9:30 p.m. – Until
Late Night Social
Estelle Bar and Patio (The Westin)

Thursday, October 21, 2021

8:00 a.m.
Exhibits Open
8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Registration
8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Breakfast
8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. 
Opening Session
Featuring opening remarks by a special guest TBA and
Ron “Gus” Gustafson – “Turning a Setback into a Comeback”
10:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. 
Bloody Mary Break & Media Visits
Sponsored by Maris, West & Baker
10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. 
General Session
“Transforming communities through Placemaking Using the Main Street Approach”
Thomas Gregory, AICP – State Coordinator, Mississippi Main Street
Jennifer Lay, TMP – Director of Community Development, Mississippi Main Street
Sponsored by Madden Media
12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. 
Luncheon
Featuring Rita Brent – Comedian, Musician, and Military Veteran
Sponsored by Visit Columbus
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Breakout Session
How to Win Visitors with Influencer Marketing
Daniella Middleton, Development Counsellors International
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Breakout Session
Roadmap to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Moderator: Rita Brent
Panelists:
Kevin Kern – Vice President of Public Relations – Memphis Travel
Margaret Perkins – President/CEO at Listen up Y’all Media
Dr. Angela V. Weathersby – CEO, AWE Global Meetings, LLC
John Norris – Founder, Church Hill Creative Foundation
2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. 
Break & Media Visits
Sponsored by Visit Hattiesburg
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Breakout Session
Air Travel Tourism…Tips and Ideas for Marketing Opportunities
Moderator: Mike Davis
Panelists:
Golden Triangle Regional Airport – Deputy Director, Matt Dowell
Gulfport- Biloxi International Airport – Executive Director, Clay Williams
Jackson–Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport – CEO, Paul Brown
Mid-Delta Regional Airport – Airport Director, Sam Washington
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Breakout Session
The coming Cookiepocalypse!
With Google’s plan to eliminate 3rd party tracking cookies from Chrome, marketers scramble to find ways to continue reaching the right audiences. During this session we’ll discuss digital audience tracking, the changes that are coming and what this means to you as well as ways to continue being effective with your tourism message.
Tim Baumgardner and Calli Robinson, Advance Travel & Tourism
5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
2022 Host Sponsor Reception 
Sponsored by Tunica 
7:00 p.m.
Dine Around Jackson
9:00 p.m. – Until
Late Night Downtown Soul Social
Johnny T’s

Friday, October 22, 2021

7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.
Yoga in the Mississippi Museum of Art Garden with Jenifer Simcox of NamasteJXN

  • Compliments of Visit Jackson
  • Some mats will be available; if you have your own, please bring them with you
8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Breakfast
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
General Session
Brand USA
Chris Thompson – CEO, Brand USA
10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Break
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Closing Session
Visit Mississippi Presentation
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. 
Awards Luncheon
Sponsored by Visit Meridian

1:30 PM – 2:30 p.m.
Dessert Reception
Honoring Mary Current’s Retirement

EXHIBITOR REGISTRATION

Exhibitor registration for the 2021 Governor’s Conference on Tourism is now open. If you signed up at the beginning of the 2021 year as a Media Partner, please contact Danielle Morgan to confirm your number of attendees included, if you need to add more attendees and receipt of payment.

Registration fee is $1,000 and ends September 30, 2021. This fee includes booth space with skirted table, identification signage, & conference registration for 1 company representative.  For guaranteed booth space and inclusion on all collateral you must register by September 30, 2021.

If you have questions regarding the conference, contact Danielle Morgan by email or phone at 601.605.1825.

Reserve Your Space Today!


ATTENDEE REGISTRATION

Registration to attend the 2021 Governor’s Conference on Tourism is now open.

Online early bird registration ends September 30, 2021. After that, you may register by October 15, 2021, for an additional fee. If you have questions regarding the conference, contact Danielle Morgan by email or phone at 601.605.1825.

Register Today!


Accommodations

The Westin Jackson

Click here to book with the group rate.

 

 

Silent Auction

The Governor’s Conference on Tourism is a wonderful event and donating to the silent auction is a fun way to showcase and promote our communities while helping MTA raise money for educational programming. The proceeds from the silent auction give MTA the ability to offer scholarships to STS Marketing College as well as other programs throughout the year.
In the past, we have found that packages, trips and Mississippi-made products are our bestsellers! We encourage you to think of things that are unique to your area or community.
POPULAR AUCTION ITEMS FROM PAST EVENTS:
• Getaway Packages
• Destination-themed gifts
• Advertising opportunities
• Tickets and packages to attractions
• Technology / electronic gadgets

• Consulting and creative services

If you are donating a gift certificate, please include redemption instructions as well as a voucher for display at the auction. Please note that MTA reserves the right to package items together.
If you have any questions contact Hayden Guest hayden@oxfordconferencecenter.com.

To submit items for the silent auction, fill out the form here


AWARDS - Now Accepting Nominations

CALL FOR ENTRIES - REQUIREMENTS

Eligibility: Any individual or organization meeting the specific awards criteria may be nominated. Projects and promotions must have been completed between June 1, 2020, and May 31, 2021, except for the Governmental Tourism Leadership Award, MTA Member of the Year and The Tourism Achievement Award. These awards may include projects and achievement that span a long period of time over a person’s career and their support of Mississippi tourism.

Who May Submit Nominations: Members or employees of the following organizations: Bed & Breakfast Association of MS, MS Convention & Visitors Bureaus, MS Chambers of Commerce, MS Hotel & Lodging Association, MS Hospitality & Restaurant Association, MS Gaming & Hospitality Association, MS Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks, MS Development Authority Division of Tourism, MS Main Street Association, MS Tourism Association, MS Welcome Centers, Museums/Attractions and Fairs/Festivals.

Judging Criteria: Entries are judged by a panel of industry peers. Decisions by the judges are final. Failure to follow the entry format will result in disqualification.

Entry Format: Please provide a written overview, on 2 pages or less, of the following information.

  • Title of award nomination, include category if applicable
  • Name of organization or person nominated
  • Overview of the nominee’s accomplishments and how they relate to the advancement of tourism in Mississippi and the award criteria
  • Description of programs initiated or implemented after June 1, 2020 – May 31, 2021.
  • Special recognition or awards received.
  • Other factors making the nominee a valuable asset to the Mississippi tourism industry.
  • A brief biography.
  • Supporting materials to support the nomination such as newspaper articles, brochures, photographs, videos, press releases, audio, etc. in the following formats (doc, dock, jpg, .pdf, zip, mp3, mp4, wav, ppt, mpg, ai, wmv). We are using a different platform and will accept up to 2 files per entry with a max of 20MB each. If submitting more than two files per entry, try zipping files together.

Entry Deadline & Submissions: All entries, supporting materials and payment must be received by Friday, September 24, 2021 at 5 p.m. Payment must be made online with credit card at the time of submission.

Notification: Only the person submitting the nomination will be notified prior to the awards ceremony.

Presentation: The recipient will be honored at the Awards Luncheon, Friday, October 22, 2021 during the Mississippi Governor’s Conference on Tourism (October 20-22, 2021)

For more information contact Danielle Morgan by email or phone at 601.605.1825.

 

AWARD CATEGORY DESCRIPTIONS

MTA Member of the Year

This is presented to an outstanding MTA member that goes above and beyond for the organization.

DMO of the Year – $1,000,000 and Over

CVB with a budget of $1,000,000 and over recognized for outstanding efforts in promoting tourism in their area through events and activities that generate visitors. They must show they are willing to work with surrounding tourism endeavors that not only promote their own area but also other partners.

DMO of the Year – $500,000 to $999,000

CVB with a budget of $500,000 to $999,000 recognized for outstanding efforts in promoting tourism in their area through events and activities that generate visitors. They must show they are willing to work with surrounding tourism endeavors that not only promote their own area but also other partners.

DMO of the Year – $0 to $499,000

CVB with a budget of $0 to $499,000 and over recognized for outstanding efforts in promoting tourism in their area through events and activities that generate visitors. They must show they are willing to work with surrounding tourism endeavors that not only promote their own area but also other partners.

Tourism Promotion of the Year

This is awarded to the promotional campaign that is innovative in attracting visitors to an area or event.

Tourism Investment Award

This award will honor an entity or person who has made an enduring contribution to the economy. This award is eligible for those who have built or invested their time, talents and money into a hotel, restaurant, attraction or other tourism related project.

Tourism Achievement Award

This is awarded to a tourism entity that has successfully increased visitation to their community. Through advertising, promotion and campaigns, this entity enhances the travel and tourism experience through their vision and commitment to tourism in their community.

Tourism Resiliency Award (New)

This is awarded to an organization that went above and beyond during the pandemic, overcoming adversity and exhibiting outstanding leadership for the industry.

Governmental Tourism Leadership Award

This is awarded to a government entity that supports tourism and helps attract visitors while working with their tourism partners. Examples of government entities include but are not limited to: state legislators, local government officials such as mayors, alderman/supervisors, city and county clerks, etc.)

Community Volunteer of the Year

This is awarded to a person that gives freely of their personal time to help attract visitors to their city. They are willing to work on either an individual project or multiple projects tirelessly with the desire of making their city grow through tourism.

Travel Attraction of the Year

This is presented to an attraction that is new or unique in attracting visitors to its city. It shows results in bringing in tourists and visitors.

Large Festival/Event of the Year (Attendance of over 5,000)

This is awarded to a unique festival or event that is well attended, attracts a large variety of visitors and is well publicized. This category is for events with over 5,000 in attendance

Small Festival/Event of the Year (Attendance of 5,000 and below)

This is awarded to a unique festival or event that is well attended, attracts a large variety of visitors and is well publicized. This category is for events with 5,000 and fewer in attendance.

Travel Media Award

This is awarded to a publication, travel writer, or media entity that goes the extra mile to help give editorial or coverage to a tourism entity beyond the purchased advertising. They diligently work to help promote tourism to a specific area through their coverage.

Travel Media Award – Travel Trade Publication

This is awarded to a publication specific to the travel trade industry that goes the extra mile by giving editorial coverage to a tourism entity beyond the purchased advertising. They are helpful with their coverage to promote tourism or conventions to a specific area.

Travel Media Award – Travel Writer

This is awarded to a specific travel writer that has given great coverage in their journalism of a specific area, event, or activity.

Travel Media Award – Newspaper

This is awarded to a newspaper that has gone above and beyond the purchased publicity to help promote tourism.

Travel Media Award – Broadcast

This is awarded to a broadcast media source that, through its broadcast, promos, and coverage help attract tourist to a specific area or attraction.

Social Media Campaign of the Year

This is awarded to a tourism entity that has effectively created a social media campaign to promote a specific event, area, attraction, branding, etc. This entity also proved the campaigns success through interaction with fans, increase in likes and website traffic.

Social Media Overall Strategy

This is awarded to a tourism entity that has effectively integrated social media into their marketing and communications plan by developing relationships and building users that are valuable. In addition, this entity has also analyzed, adapted and improved their strategy to perfect their social media efforts.

Best Social Media Presence

This is awarded to a tourism entity that has effectively created a social media presence beyond Facebook. This entity must have at least 2 of the following platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube) in addition to Facebook.

The tourism entity must provide examples of design, style, content and usability along with statistics showing their success in promoting their area.

The entity must also prove success through interaction with fans, increase in likes and website traffic. Below are the following criteria required for each platform:

For Facebook Page Insights –

  1. a) Increased count in likes for the given time period
  2. b) Reach per person (Increase in page Reach/Total likes)

For Other Forums( twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest ,LinkedIn) –

  1. a) Number of Followers
  2. b) Frequency of posts (posts/month)

SPONSORS

Thank you to our generous sponsors:

ANNUAL GOLD SPONSORS

ANNUAL BRONZE SPONSORS

Governor’s Conference on Tourism Sponsors