The staff of the Meridian/Lauderdale County Tourism Bureau works to enhance the quality of life and economic vitality of Lauderdale County by promoting Meridian as a travel destination, meeting and conference location, and through other tourism efforts to boost the number of visitors to our area.

The tourism bureau works closely with local hotels, city and county officials, chamber of commerce, associations, organizations, attractions, local, state and national agencies, legislators and others.

Important to this effort is identifying key market segments, promoting attractions and hotels, restaurants, shops, recreational opportunities and sports venues for our city, county and region.

The staff also works closely with performing arts and artists, theaters, music venues, museums and the like to support performing arts and to utilize these venues to bring in overnight guests to our area — as well as local and regional visitors.

Tourism officials also work with the East Mississippi Development Corp. in economic development efforts to showcase tourism, quality of life and the city and county’s attractiveness when a business or industry is interested in locating or expanding in this area. Tourism is big business for Meridian and Lauderdale County.

In fiscal year 2005, nearly $110 million dollars was spent by tourists and visitors in Meridian and about $118 million was spent by tourists and visitors to Lauderdale County. Estimated county expenditures for tourism in Lauderdale County totaled about $118,000. Tourism-related employment was 1,875 jobs. Lauderdale County has about 1,583 hotel rooms as of fiscal year 2005.

The tourism commission promotes diversity as a crossroads to link our city and county, other regions nearby, our state as a whole, other states and to other nations. Tourism means linking others together in the hospitality industry and we are at a crossroads in Meridian — to a bigger and brighter future for today and tomorrow.



Cecilia Derrington is executive director of the Meridian/Lauderdale County Tourism Bureau.

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