Tourism colleagues,

I am excited to serve as Board Chair of Travel South USA. I am thankful for my fellow Board members from the 12 states in this Organization. I share my gratitude with the Executive Board—Doug Bourgeois (LA), Mike Mangeot (KY), Stephen Foutes (MO), and past chair Chelsea Ruby (WV). Together, we will recover from the effects COVID-19 had on our industry. And to our Global Partnerships, Agencies, State Teams, DMO Partners, and Travel Service Providers: thank you. Thank you for your encouragement, guidance, and support. Together, our future is bright.

For the past 19 months, Travel South has used the hashtag #EveryDayWeAreOneDayCloser. Those words convey our attitude, spirit, and workflow. Throughout these turbulent months, we remained focused on the future. When we could not travel, we used our time to connect with customers. When we were quarantined, we used our time to build our marketing assets. And our work has paid off. Now, as we prepare to re-enter the global marketplace, we are stronger than before.

Research is the cornerstone of our work. We believe the medical community and the tourism community can
work hand in hand to mitigate the spread, hold meetings safely, and welcome lucrative international travelers back. Using research from Tourism Economics, we can quantify job loss—in visitors, revenue, and taxes—and project the investments we need to recover. We will continue our annual work with Destination Analysts on their Survey of International Travelers, specifically those with intent to travel to the South. As planning for 2022 intercontinental travel begins, we have launched our fall digital campaigns in Canada, Australia, Brazil, and Europe. A series of newsletters and social media posts will reach millions of consumers on Facebook and Instagram and more than 33,000 travel trade and media contacts to promote road trips, outdoor recreation, and luxury experiences. Additionally, our visiting journalist program has engaged United States journalists who write for publications in our targeted countries, and a new influencer campaign is planned for next year. Our efforts are working; we have already seen a remarkable increase in earned media.

Looking ahead, in October we will launch our new programmatic digital marketing campaigns in partnership with Brand USA in Canada. We are excited about this new format of delivering curated content and driving bookings. We will soon launch on a new platform called featuring more than 500 pieces of curated visual content. In partnership with Hotelbeds/Bedsonline, we reprised a successful campaign, The Authentic South, adding more than 20 state and city-level partners targeting Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and American travel agents. We are also engaging travel influencers. Overall, we look forward to the results of our targeted media and public relations plan.

You may have noticed we are fully open for registration for Travel South USA International Showcase in New Orleans, November 29 through December 3. There are 80 operators and journalists already registered, with more registering each day. The event will showcase our robust safety protocol with extra provisions for our international guests. In compliance with the city of New Orleans, every delegate must wear a mask while indoors. Delegates must show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test to enter a restaurant, bar, or other indoor gatherings, including our evening reception at Sazerac House and the New Orleans Jazz Museum. For more information, contact the Travel South USA office. We hope you will join us in New Orleans.

In closing, we are excited to announce the refresh of our website,, be sure to take a look when it launches next month.



Director, Visit Mississippi & Chairman, Travel South USA