Dear Editor,

May 7th–13th is National Tourism Week, which was established by congressional resolution in 1983, and serves to champion the power of the tourism industry. This is a time where we recognize the impacts of tourism in our own community.

Concordia Parish is fortunate to have a Louisiana State Welcome Center in Vidalia which attracts many visitors from outside our parish, state and country. We have the opportunity to showcase our beautifully developed Vidalia Riverfront showcasing the Mighty Mississippi River, historic downtown Natchez, and Natchez Under the Hill.

Concordia Parish’s natural resources are spread over thousands of acres of gorgeous lakes and preserved woods & wetlands including the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, Bayou Cocodrie National Wildlife Refuge and other Wildlife Management Areas. Whether on land or water, Concordia is the place for sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts who seek the experience of nature at its fullest.

Concordia is rich in history, and our own Frogmore Plantation shares the history of cotton, then and now so beautifully that it was named a ‘Must See in the South/Southeast’ by Rand McNally. Concordia is historically known for its musical talents, which is why there is a Mississippi Blues Trail marker at the Delta Music Museum in downtown Ferriday.

These resources, and others, play a large role in our local economy. A tourism dollar is a new dollar that is injected into our community, and it is recirculated within our community through various ways creating a multiplier effect. The more visitors we have, the more need we have for hotels, or other overnight accommodations. Those hotels then pay employees with that tourism dollar, which allows them to spend that dollar at the local gas station, grocery store, etc. Those tourism dollars help to support our local businesses, and generates local sales tax revenues which assist with the cost of infrastructure repair and other municipal services.

As you can see, tourism plays a huge role in our community, and without the tourism industry all businesses would see a direct financial impact. So, this week I ask you to recognize those who work diligently to attract visitors to our community. I will not attempt to list all those that put in hours day in and day out to help grow our local tourism industry, but believe me there are many who contribute their time, some paid and most not, to make our area a destination.

The Vidalia Welcome Center hosted an Open House to celebrate National Tourism Week on Wednesday, May 10 at the Vidalia Welcome Center located on the Vidalia Riverfront at 112 Front Street, Suite A.

Heather L. Malone,

Director

Concordia Economic Development

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