Q: How is the Hattiesburg Tourism Commission dba VISITHATTIESBURG™ funded?
A: The Hattiesburg Tourism Commission is primarily funded through a 2% tax on lodging accommodations (hotels/motels). It is often confused with the 2% tax on food and beverage collected at local restaurants; however, the food and beverage tax is completely separate from the lodging tax and helps support the work of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission.
Q: What is the relationship between the Hattiesburg Tourism Commission and the Hattiesburg Convention Commission?
A: While the two commissions operate separately both financially and administratively (each governed by its own appointed board of seven), they also work hand-in-hand and side-by-side to grow the tourism industry for Hattiesburg, complementing one another’s work. The Tourism Commission operating as VISITHATTIESBURG™ is responsible for the broad-based marketing of Hattiesburg as a tourism destination. While the Hattiesburg Convention Commission is specifically responsible for growing the meetings and conventions industry through the operation of the Lake Terrace Convention Center and also, building the tourism infrastructure of Hattiesburg through facilities such as the Saenger Theater, the African-American Military History Museum and the Historic Eureka School.
Q: What does VISITHATTIESBURG™ do?
A: VISITHATTIESBURG™ is the official Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) for Hattiesburg. Created in 1990 by the State legislature, VISITHATTIESBURG™ is responsible for marketing and promoting Hattiesburg as a tourism destination to out-of-town visitors. Due to the legislation creating the Hattiesburg Tourism Commission, VISITHATTIESBURG™ does not financially support bricks-and-mortar projects.
Q: Who is Hattie?
A: Hattie, Hattiesburg’s namesake, is the spokeswoman for Tourism in Hattiesburg while also personifying the warmth and friendliness of Hattiesburg’s people. The “Hattie” BrandPrint which was created after 16 months of in-depth research and then unveiled in October of 2003, is used today to communicate to potential visitors that Hattiesburg is an affordable, family-friendly weekend getaway.
Q: What is the economic value of the tourism industry in Hattiesburg?
A: In 2007, visitor spending in Hattiesburg reached $227 million, a 6% increase over 2006. These figures are annually provided by the Mississippi Development Authority’s Tourism Division.
Q: What is the relationship between VISITHATTIESBURG™ and the Hattiesburg Visitors Center?
A: As the Visitors Center is physically located on the property of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission, the actual building itself is owned by the Hattiesburg Convention Commission. However, the daily management and operation of the facility is provided by the Hattiesburg Tourism Commission dba VISITHATTIESBURG™ which staffs and supervises the team of Tourism Ambassadors working at the Visitors Center. In other words, the official home and offices of VISITHATTIESBURG™ are located within the Hattiesburg Visitors Center.
Q: What is the difference between the Hattiesburg Visitors Center and a Mississippi Welcome Center?
A: In addition to being funded by MDOT and operated by the Mississippi Development Authority, a Mississippi Welcome Center is also responsible for providing visitors with state-wide information. Uniquely, the daily operations of the Hattiesburg Visitors Center are provided by VISITHATTIESBURG™ and the facility was built for the specific purpose of promoting the Greater Hattiesburg-area.
Q: What is there to do in Hattiesburg?
A: A lot. However, if you have this question, the best resource you can use to find all the answers is first and foremost, the friendly Tourism Ambassadors of the Hattiesburg Visitors Center. Likewise, if a visitor asks you this question, we hope your first response will be to guide them to the Hattiesburg Visitors Center where our staff is committed to ensuring each and every guest receives a positive impression of Hattiesburg and an extra-large helping of Hattie’s warm hospitality. If physically visiting the Visitors Center is not a feasible option and you need answers now, then hattiesburg.org offers a wealth of information about things to see and do in Hattiesburg.
Q: How do I apply for a Tourism Ambassador position at the Hattiesburg Visitors Center?
A: We prefer for interested applicants to drop-off a resume with references by the Hattiesburg Visitors Center in care-of Christy McSwain, Senior Tourism Ambassador. The Visitors Center is open Monday – Saturday from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm.
Q: Does VISITHATTIESBURG™ use volunteers?
A: Future plans do include the use of volunteers. Please check back with us in the future to see when a volunteer program might be implemented.