March 1, 2016 10:57:34 AM
The Mississippi Tourism Association will today bring its spring conference to Columbus for the first time.
The conference -- which runs today and Wednesday -- is one of the largest gatherings of tourism professionals in the state and will bring more than 200 attendees to the city, according to a press release.
Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Nancy Carpenter told The Dispatch Monday that she's attempted for several years to convince the MTA to bring the conference here.
"This is a tremendous opportunity," she said. "We've worked hard to make sure the town looks great, and it always does," Carpenter said. "We're very proud of our city and very supportive."
Carpenter said the spring conference is one of two major yearly conferences the MTA holds. The group also holds a fall conference; both move around to different cities across the state.
"We are thrilled to host our spring conference in Columbus, and we encourage tourism industry leaders and professionals from around the state to join us," said Kappi Allen, MTA president and executive director of the Clarksdale Coahoma Tourism Bureau. "We know that gathering as an industry is an excellent way to expand our knowledge and connect with fellow professionals in the industry."
The conference will begin today with a jazz brunch at the historic Rosedale home, followed by sessions at the Courtyard Marriott Columbus. Further events will showcase the town, including an afternoon reception on the pedestrian bridge.
Carpenter said the conference is a chance for the city to make a lasting impression, especially for those who have never visited Columbus.
"Last week I hosted travel partners from the UK and from Germany," She said. "They were so impressed with Columbus. They had never been here and they said, 'We think the state conference should be posted here.' They, like so many, are so impressed when they visit Columbus."
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