NATCHEZ – Devin Heath, Director of Visit Natchez, and his team this morning presented the annual Natchez Tourism Summit to around 70 ‘stakeholders’ in the community.
Stakeholders include restaurant owners, historic home and bed and breakfast owners, hotel and business owners, and city and county officials here.
Heath’s post was one of the thanks to the Natchez community for their invaluable help in selling the town to visiting tourists. He also spoke with the group about what Visit Natchez is currently working on and where it is headed.
Visit Natchez is finalizing a strategic plan with the help of Don Anderson and DCG Consultancy.
“We have developed an organizational direction that includes, in addition to a mission statement, a vision statement, statements of diversity, equity and inclusion and organizational values. These will guide everything we do, ”said Heath. “We used to have a mission statement, but we didn’t have a vision or proposals for diversity, equity, inclusion and values. “
Visit Natchez’s mission statement is the mission of CNPC and Visit Natchez, as the city’s official destination marketing organization, is to increase the economic impact of tourism in Natchez by developing and promoting of the city to individual and group visitors.
The vision statement is to be the preeminent destination in the South for immersive cultural heritage, live music, social events, film tourism and exciting outdoor recreation.
The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion statement is at Visit Natchez, we continue to build a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion and we are committed to creating opportunities for our entire community and our visitors to join the Natchez experience.
The values identified as key at Visit Natchez include being visionary and strategic, innovative, open and transparent, inclusive and collaborative and responsible.
“Don Anderson is actually the leader in the destination marketing world. He has been here several times. It was a project of several months. He met with community leaders and stakeholders, as well as staff and the board of directors. We talked about the successes and challenges and he helped us formulate not only the organizational directions and the strategic plan, which includes goals and actions. We’re almost done with this process, ”Heath said.
Visit Natchez is conducting a branding study and will roll out a new branding by the start of the year, he said. In addition, work will begin soon on a new visitor guide.
“One of the biggest misconceptions about Natchez is that we’re a one-ride pony, but that’s not true. We have so many facets and we’re going to deploy resources to highlight as many of those aspects as possible. . “
Visit Natchez also plans to reopen the Natchez Film Office, which operated until around 2015, he said.
“We are also delighted to reopen the Natchez Film Office,” said Heath. “With all the films coming here, the purpose of this office is to provide support to those looking for films. We will provide information and be a resource. We are focused on selling Natchez and providing advice or resources for film production. “
Visit Natchez is in place at its new location at 500 Main St., Suite 1, behind Home Bank.
“We have had a lot of turnover within the Visit Natchez team and we have a lot of new people. We wanted the community to clearly understand where we are going and what we plan to do, ”said Heath. “The team is moving up a notch now and tourism is really at the center of this community which is great and the community membership is wonderful.”
Heath thanked everyone in Natchez and Adams County for the job residents do to make visitors feel welcome.
“When I came to see Natchez everyone was so warm and welcoming. They didn’t know who I was. I was just another person they saw in a restaurant, hotel or store. Everything left me with this warm and friendly feeling. Continuing to bring our community to offer this kind of experience to visitors is essential. “