(The following press release and photo were submitted to MyFOX23.com from the Hattiesburg Tourism Commission.)
January 15, 2018 (Hattiesburg, Miss.) – The Hattiesburg Tourism Commission is pleased to announce the addition of experienced tourism professional Paige Hunt as its new director of sales and visitor services. Hunt brings extensive knowledge and proficiency to the leadership role having worked in both local and state tourism during her fifteen-year career.
“Hattiesburg is a growing visitor destination, and we are currently enhancing and strengthening the services and support network we provide to our tourism partners and visitors. In 2018, Hattiesburg will have approximately 3,000 hotel rooms, and our meeting space options will be at an all-time high. These offerings combine to create a tremendous competitive advantage for Hattiesburg to host both leisure and corporate events, and we want to have the team capacity in place to fully reach our potential,” VisitHattiesburg Executive Director Marlo Dorsey said.
As sales director, Hunt will primarily focus on growing overnight hotel stays in Hattiesburg for both corporate and leisure travel through conference bookings, meeting planning, and sporting events. Additionally, a large focus will be placed on promoting multi-day itineraries that include Hattiesburg’s tourism attractions for various travel sectors, including outdoor recreation, culinary, military, civil rights, sports, and arts and entertainment.
“Paige brings both a solid network of contacts in the tourism industry and an impressive portfolio of past project work, which has generated visitor growth and real dollars into the economy. She will be a great addition to Hattiesburg in numerous ways, and I am looking forward to what we can achieve,” Dorsey said.
Prior to joining the Hattiesburg team, Hunt served as executive director of the Greenwood Convention and Visitors Bureau, senior tourism communications bureau manager at Visit Mississippi, and director of marketing and business development at The Ramey Agency in Jackson
In 2010, Hunt was part of the initial team that brought the production of the Academy-award winning movie, “The Help” to Greenwood. Under her leadership, the Mississippi Tourism Association named the Greenwood Convention and Visitors Bureau twice as Convention and Visitors Bureau of the Year. Additionally, Hunt worked at Visit Mississippi, overseeing all aspects of three successful marketing campaigns, including Mississippi’s global campaign “Mississippi’s Year of the Creative Economy” in 2014, which directly resulted in both domestic and international visitor growth for the state. For more than a decade, Hunt has worked on promoting Mississippi’s heritage from the Mississippi Blues and Country Music Trails to the Americana Music Triangle.
“The opportunity to work with VisitHattiesburg is exciting. I have been part of tourism growth on both the local and state levels, and I believe my industry experience will strengthen Hattiesburg’s tourism sector. I’m looking forward to using my sales and services experience working with meeting planners, group tour operators and tourism professionals to bring more travel business to Hattiesburg,” Hunt said.
Hunt holds a master’s degree from Mississippi State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Louisiana State University. She is a certified Tourism Marketing Professional (TMP), served on the Mississippi Tourism Association board for ten years, and was named by the Mississippi Business Journal as one of 50 Leading Business Women in Mississippi.
In 2016, Hattiesburg was the third most visited city in Mississippi with more than 1.8 million visitors, whose combined spending was more than $274 million in the local economy.