Visit Hattiesburg: COVID-19 affecting tourism in city


HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – With COVID-19 effecting so many businesses in Mississippi, National Travel and Tourism Week has been much different this year than in years past.

“So for Hattiesburg, we are Mississippi’s third most visited city. For us that mean’s we hosted more than 2.2 million in greater Hattiesburg last year, who invested more than $300 million of their dollars in our economy,” said Marlo Dorsey, the Executive Director of Visit Hattiesburg.

Much of that money can’t be counted on this year. Many of the festivals and events planned for this spring and summer have either been canceled or postponed. Dorsey said that has put the city’s hospitality industry in a tight spot.

“It has tremendously disrupted our revenue streams. It’s disrupted the way that we conduct business, and we’re all working on, you know, how can we create a path forward for recovery,” explained Dorsey.

With the economic impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry so widespread, neighbors want to know what does that recovery look like.

“If that means right now we have to be a little bit more patient, tighten our belts a little bit more than what we’d really like to do, adapt our business models so that today we can safe so that we have a bright future to really build on and look forward to very soon. You know, that’s what we are right now doing at all levels here in Hattiesburg.”

Visit Hattiesburg said it’s been in constant communication with businesses throughout the city, as well as leaders in the city and the state, and will continue to do so during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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