October 19-21, 2022

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

1:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Optional Afternoon Activities

2:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Excellence in Tourism Leadership Program Session
Grant Writing Best Practices
* Session for those already enrolled in the ETLP program *

3:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Exhibitor Set-Up & Registration & Silent Auction Item Drop Off
Founder’s Room

6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
New Member and First-Timer Attendee Reception
Diamond Lounge      
Sponsored by Visit Mississippi   

7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Opening Reception
Bluesville
Sponsored by Tunica CVB & Horseshoe Tunica

9:00 until
After Hours Glow Social
Pool Area
Sponsored by Greenwood CVB

 

Thursday, October 20, 2022

All conference programming will be held at the Horseshoe Tunica.

8:00 a.m.
Exhibits Open

8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Registration
Bluesville

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Breakfast
Bluesville
Sponsored by Canton Tourism

8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. 
Opening Session
Where Do We Go From Here? 
Bill Geist of DMO Proz
With the worst of the pandemic behind us and the specter of a recession ahead, the travel and hospitality industry continues to be buffeted by workforce issues, higher costs and supply chain challenges. But, rather than believe all is lost, author and destination marketing consultant Bill Geist sees opportunity. In this Conference kick-off, you’ll hear his take on the growing understanding that Mississippi’s economy needs a vibrant Tourism sector to enhance Quality of Life and Place for its residents. From talent acquisition to community development and diversity, equity and inclusion efforts to developing new markets, Bill will connect trends with tactics to paint a pathway for a flourishing future.
Bluesville
Sponsored by Zartico

10:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. 
Bloody Mary Break & Media Visits
Founder’s Room
Sponsored by Maris, West & Baker

10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. 
General Session
Audience Centered Experiences
Keena Graham of the Medgar & Myrlie Evers Home
Bluesville
Sponsored by Advance Travel & Tourism

12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. 
Luncheon featuring It’s a Southern Thing
Bluesville
Sponsored by Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and Delta Center for Culture & Learning

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Breakout Session
Data Driven Decision Making in Sports Tourism
Jon Schmieder and Cole McKeel of Huddle Up Group
Oxford

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Breakout Session
You’ll Shoot Your KPI Out, Kid! Adjust Your Aim to Find Destination Marketing Success
Heather Molina of Madden Media
Jackson

2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. 
Break & Media Visits
Founder’s Room
Sponsored by Epsilon

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Breakout Session
Influencers: The Storytellers your Destinations Can’t Live Without
Jade Broadus of Travel Mindset
Oxford Room

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Breakout Session
Just Call me Google: How to Create Itineraries for Visitors
Itinerary Building Panel featuring Lori Huffstutler, Jane Halbert Jones and Dawn Pryztal
Jackson Room

5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
2023 Host Sponsor Reception
Gateway to the Blues Museum
Sponsored by Visit Meridian

7:00 p.m.
Dine Around Tunica

9:00 p.m. – Until
Late Night Social
Sponsored by Visit Columbus

Friday, October 21, 2022

8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Breakfast
Bluesville
Sponsored by Lou Hammond Group

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
General Session
Visit Mississippi Update
Bluesville
10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Break
Founder’s Room

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Closing Session

Accessibility Revolution: How Destinations Can Be More Inclusive and Why It Matters
Cory Lee of Curb Free with Cory Lee
Bluesville
Sponsored by Madden Media

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. 
Awards Luncheon
Bluesville
Sponsored by Maris, West & Baker

EXHIBITOR REGISTRATION

Exhibitor registration for the 2022 Governor’s Conference on Tourism is now open. If you signed up at the beginning of the 2022 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, 2022. 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, 2022.

Registration to attend the 2022 Governor’s Conference on Tourism is now open.

***A note on registering for Governor’s Conference***
You must use your email address associated with your organization’s membership and log into MC Trade using that email to receive the member rate.
If you click a link from an email or from our website to register, you will see a register button. Click that and you will see a form with a login button on the top right. Click that and enter your login email, then register. If you are not a member, you can skip this step. If you do not have a password for your email login, you will need to select forgot your password and create one.
Reach out to Jennie Guido for assistance if you have any problems logging in.
If you have any issues and think your invoice is incorrect, please reach out before submitting payment!

ATTENDEE REGISTRATION

Registration to attend the 2022 Governor’s Conference on Tourism is now open.

***A note on registering for Governor’s Conference***
You must use your email address associated with your organization’s membership and log into MC Trade using that email address to receive the member rate.
If you click a link from an email or from our website to register, you will see a register button. Click that and you will see a form with a login button on the top right. Click that and enter your login email, then register. If you are not a member, you can skip this step. If you do not have a password for your email login, you will need to select forgot your password and create one.
Reach out to Jennie Guido for assistance if you have any problems logging in.
If you have any issues and think your invoice is incorrect, please reach out before submitting payment!

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

Accommodations

Our home for this year’s Governor’s Conference is Horseshoe Casino and Hotel. Rates begin at $109.

***When you book your hotel room, you have to click edit and select the desired dates. Then hit the UPDATE button. It will then show you available rooms for those dates.

Make your reservations today!

Room block will close 30 days prior to conference on September 19


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.

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


AWARDS - Nominations are closed.

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, 2021, and May 31, 2022, 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, 2021 – May 31, 2022.
  • 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 2, 2022 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 21, 2022 during the Mississippi Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

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

 

AWARD CATEGORY DESCRIPTIONS

MTA Member of the Year
Presented to an outstanding volunteer member who goes above and beyond for the betterment of the organization.

DMO of the Year – $1,000,000 and Over
Honors a DMO with a budget of $1,000,000 and over, which is recognized for outstanding efforts in destination marketing and management through strategies and initiatives that generate visitation and contribute to the overall success of their destination. Entries should also demonstrate they are supportive of tourism endeavors, not only promoting their own area but also other partners and the industry as a whole.

DMO of the Year – $500,000 to $999,000
Honors a DMO with a budget of $500,000 to $999,000, which is recognized for outstanding efforts in destination marketing and management through strategies and initiatives that generate visitation and contribute to the overall success of their destination. Entries should also demonstrate they are supportive of tourism endeavors, not only promoting their own area but also other partners and the industry as a whole.

DMO of the Year – $0 to $499,000
DMO with a budget of $0 to $499,000, which is recognized for outstanding efforts in destination marketing and management through strategies and initiatives that generate visitation and contribute to the overall success of their destination. Entries should also demonstrate they are supportive of tourism endeavors, not only promoting their own area but also other partners and the industry as a whole.

Tourism Promotion of the Year
Honors a specific promotional campaign that is innovative and successful in attracting visitors to a destination, attraction, hotel, venue or event.

Tourism Investment Award
Honors an entity or person who has made an enduring contribution to Mississippi’s tourism economy. Eligible entries should highlight individuals or corporations that have built or invested their time, talents and resources into a hotel, restaurant, attraction or other tourism related project in the state of Mississippi.

Tourism Achievement Award
Awarded to a tourism entity that has significantly increased visitation and helped shape the future of their destination. The entity should exhibit how their work has enhanced the travel and tourism experience through their strategic vision and commitment to their community. Entries should demonstrate a comprehensive plan with long term goals and results showing how these significant achievements were accomplished. 

Best Sales Strategy or Campaign
Honors a strong campaign or strategy used to grow sales for a destination, attraction, hotel, convention center or other tourism entity via traditional or digital methods. Results should include a clear statement of goals and results. Examples would include but are not limited to: sales-focused mailers, promotional items, familiarization tours and other sales strategies.

Best Public Relations Strategy or Campaign

Awarded to a strong public relations campaign or strategy. Projects may include, but are not limited to, development projects, advocacy campaigns, welcome center projects, socially/environmentally responsible efforts, experiential, etc. Campaigns may be directed at niche markets or a general travel audience. Campaigns may also relate to special events, crisis management programs or overall tourism promotion. Results should be communicated with relevant and meaningful metrics. Results should include: impressions, results, pickup and social media reach (if applicable).

Best Advocacy or Grassroots Campaign
Entries should show how your entity has demonstrated its value to stakeholders and lawmakers. Entries may include, but are not limited to: presentations to stakeholders, lawmakers, advertisements, collateral, video messaging, etc.

Governmental Tourism Leadership Award
Awarded to a government entity that supports tourism and works well with tourism partners by lending support and helping grow tourism. 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 community. They are willing to work on either an individual project or multiple projects tirelessly with the desire of helping their city grow through tourism.

Tourism Partnership of the Year
This recognizes effective partnerships among entities within the tourism industry. Examples would include partnerships successfully impacting any of the following: marketing, advocacy, education and development. Entries should include but are not limited to: how the partnership was conceived and created, how you worked well together to achieve common goals, the impact of the partnership and future plans for further collaboration. Please include statements from both partners outlining how this partnership impacted all involved partners in a positive way. 

Lodging of the Year
Presented to a lodging source in the state that not only attracts visitors but also exhibits an above-average commitment to the visitor experience and overall engagement in the tourism industry.

Venue of the Year
Presented to a venue in the state that offers an outstanding location for various types of events. Entries should also exhibit an above-average commitment to the visitor experience and overall engagement in the tourism industry.

Restaurant of the Year
Presented to an eatery in the state that not only showcases Southern cuisine but also creates a dining experience that patrons will want to pass on to fellow travelers. 

Attraction of the Year
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)
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)
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.

Best Overall Traditional Media
Awarded to any member using traditional media (broadcast, radio, newspaper, magazine, print advertising campaign, etc) to promote a destination, attraction, property, event or campaign. This could also include earned media that compliments your media campaign.

Best Overall Digital Media
Awarded to any member using digital media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, website, digital advertising campaign, podcast, etc) to promote a destination, attraction, property, event or campaign. Applicant should include documentation showing reach, growth and results during the award period.

Tom VanHyning Research-in-Action Award
Awarded to a member who is investing in research in order to make data-driven decisions to grow tourism in the state. It is named in honor of beloved, former state economist Tom VanHyning, who served Mississippi tourism for decades and taught us the importance and value of good research.

SPONSORS

Thank you to our generous sponsors:

ANNUAL GOLD SPONSORS

 

ANNUAL SILVER SPONSORS

ANNUAL BRONZE SPONSORS

 

Governor’s Conference on Tourism Sponsors