Wednesday, February 21, 2007

One post leads to another

In the previous posting a commenter stated:
"Well, the saddest part of the prison idea is the potential location:
Too bad we can't turn the airport into an airport......"

The future of the Airport, like the future of so much in Natchez IS tied directly to Tourism. Developing Tourism in Natchez is directly tied to developing Natchez as a DESTINATION rather than a side trip. A substantial part of that issue was addressed by yet another commentator.

In the previous posting a commenter asked:
"Does anyone have any accurate numbers as to how much money is actually spent on marketing?"

I don't know HOW MUCH is spent by the City, CVB, NCPC, or planned for the "new" thing - but I do have a pretty good idea of HOW LITTLE.

To give you an idea I'll republish an article I posted in Natchez Magazine.

"Where'd the Money Go?

No doubt the key to success in any business is getting the word out. In the Tourism business that means advertising. Regional and National advertising is the mother's milk of success. Going to travel shows will get tour companies to put Natchez on their trip itineraries, but if the tour originating in Podunk doesn't sell to the folks there the tour will be canceled, so all the work and expense goes for naught. You have to make Natchez a place people think about going to and you do that with advertising.

More than twenty years ago the legislature recognized the needs of towns like Natchez to enhance tourism and created taxing entities called Convention and Visitors Bureaus and authorized taxes on local food and lodging to generate funds to make it possible to attract visitors through various activities including advertising.

Locally those taxes have produced in excess of $800,000 a year for quite some time. Does that mean that Natchez has $600,000 a year for ads? $400,000 ?, $200,000 ?. NO, not even $100,000 is available. Where did it go?

In 1998 the City (as I've written before) decided to go into the visitor reception business and convinced the CVB (an independent State agency, equal in status to the City) to sign a “Management Agreement” whereby the City gets all but about $70,000 a year of the CVB funds and runs their new business with CVB money.
Has it worked? Has it increased visitation? Are things better in tourism? I don't think so.

The CVB needs to terminate that contract, hire two or three marketing people and spend the greatest portion of their income on getting the word out. Then you'll see things start to happen."

Since then TWO things have happened that even more severly restricts the CVB's ability to market Natchez.

1. The city's $2,000,000 (+?) bond issue will be partially repaid by sending ALL Hamburger 1&2 (that's the special taxes on food and lodging that provides all of the CVB funding) receipts from the new hotel to the bond repayment. This will amount to a DECREASE of $50 - $70 thousand a year effectively reducing the remainder of the total receipts available to advertising to practically nothing.

2. The CVB has voted to EXTEND the contract for 5 years even though the City will effectively shut down the Dept of Tourism Management and turn it over to the new management group (the hotel - well same thing).

Shush, complicated? "You ain't hurd nuthin yet"

The County should have stayed involved.


Anonymous said...

Has this message board ended?

Anonymous said...

No, they just haven't had an article in a while. It'll be back when something exciting happens.