Visit Jackson Takes Top Honors – Again – at State Tourism Conference

The Visit Jackson staff and board members, along with Visit MS Director of Tourism, Craig Ray (left); MDA interim Exec. Dir. Laura Hipp (4th from right) and MTA President, Marlo Dorsey (3rd from left). Image: Ron Blaylock/MTA

Visit Jackson took home top honors for the second year in a row at the 2021 Mississippi Tourism Association’s Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

Those accolades include Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) of the Year for budgets over $1,000,000 and Best Overall Social Media Strategy Award, both earned two years in a row; the Tourism Achievement Award; and the Research-in-Action Award.

“We faced one of the most challenging years in the history of this organization, possibly my lifetime,” said Dr. Rickey Thigpen, President & CEO of Visit Jackson. “The leadership of the Visit Jackson Board of Directors and the dedicated and professional staff executed strategies resulting in an intuitive and resilient culture for our destination leadership organization.”

“It is truly an honor to celebrate these members who work tirelessly for their communities,” said MTA Executive Director Danielle Morgan. “The competition was strong, and that is a testament to the caliber of work being produced by our industry partners and the strength and competitiveness of Mississippi tourism.”  

Visit Jackson secured the top tourism honor in the DMO of the Year category with their “From Destination Marketing Organization to Destination Leadership Organization entry,” a strategy that cemented Jackson’s standing as a cultural hot spot and socially-responsible city.  Visit Jackson embarked on a multi-year approach to leverage Jackson’s authentic collective experiences and unique sensibilities into a full-fledged strategic refresh for the organization.  

The Tourism Achievement award was based upon Visit Jackson’s ability to recognize an opportunity and pivot during COVID-19. This postured the organization to capitalize on new travel trends and invite people to discover or rediscover the City With Soul. 

Finally, Visit Jackson earned the Overall Social Media Overall Strategy Award by differentiating between travelers and locals using a second brand, “My City.” Harnessing the strengths of a single marketing team, the organization continues to grow its multi-year campaigns, built in phases around the My City locals brand and a new identifier, the “City With Soul,” aimed at visitors. 

The Governor’s conference, which recognized the impact and accomplishments of the state’s tourism industry, was hosted by Visit Jackson at the Jackson Convention Complex. This annual educational and professional development event brought together around 200 tourism industry professionals from across the state and tourism partners from the surrounding region.