Visit Hattiesburg celebrates 16th Annual Tourism Partners Luncheon and Shining Star Awards


HATTIESBURG, MS. - Visit Hattiesburg celebrated its 16th Annual Tourism Partners Luncheon and Shining Star Awards Wednesday at the Train Depot.

Executive Director Rick Taylor said, "In the U.S., Mississippi, and Hattiesburg, we all saw 2.1% growth in the tourism industry in 2016."

Visit Hattiesburg recognized 25 businesses for helping contribute $274 million back into Hattiesburg. City of Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree said, "Can you imagine 274 million dollars?"

He added, "But it all has to do with this industry. Hotel, motel industry and the things that we have going on through the year, people come here and they want to stay, here.”

One person from each of the 25 businesses is nominated by their peers and supervisors for exceptional customer service.

General Manager of Red Lion Inn and Suites, Bob Cox said he is happy to contribute to Hattiesburg's tourism economy.

"Well you know we love being a part of Hattiesburg and Hattiesburg tourism, and we love to be a part of what Hattiesburg does" said Cox.

Cox continued, "And just to be able to recognize the people that are superstars that are in our hotel we have sold many in a everyday basis, it is just hard to pick just one or two.”

Officials said Hattiesburg's tourism economy continues to show impressive growth in the last decade.

“Obviously tourism is very important to the state of Mississippi as it is the 4th largest industry in the state, so today as we celebrate in Hattiesburg and in the state, we want to stress the importance of tourism" said Rochelle Hicks, Executive Director of the Mississippi Tourism Association.

The Shining Star Awards is Hattiesburg's only service award program.

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