Yazoo County CVB, Paul and JoAnn Adams Win State Tourism Awards
On Tuesday, September 24, the Mississippi Tourism Association (MTA) presented the 2013 Mississippi Tourism Awards at the Awards Luncheon at the close of the annual Mississippi Governor’s Conference on Tourism. Yazoo County were big winners this year, taking home two awards.
Paul and JoAnn Adams were awarded the 2013 Tourism Investment Award for their hard work in revitalizing Yazoo City’s historic downtown. “This is a new award category for the Mississippi Tourism Association,” said Rochelle Hicks, Executive Director of MTA. “We created the category in the hopes that we could honor some of the many people and organizations who are spending big money in Mississippi to further our tourism product. I could not imagine there being a more deserving winner than the Adames.”
“We are just thrilled,” said Mrs. Adams. “We didn’t do any of this for recognition or awards. We’re just doing what we love to do. But it warms my heart to know that our work means so much to Yazoo County and to the state. We love Yazoo, and we love Mississippi. It’s a good feeling to know that they love us back. We are so honored and so blessed.”
Many factors played into the Adams’ win: purchase of their 15th building in Yazoo City’s historic downtown; the 4th anniversary of the Adams’ monthly special free event, “First Friday,” hosted in their No Smoking Smokehouse and catered by the Adams’ family, friends and employees; opened 5 new rooms in the Main Street Hotel, bringing the room total to 14 uniquely designed, and uniquely named, retreats from the ordinary; opened the Main Street Hotel business office in the Griffin Norquist law office on Main Street, replaced 4 roofs and renovated, painted and decorated several buildings to prepare for businesses opening, including Thomas Johnson’s new restaurant, Tom’s on Main, Quint Corners art studio, and Delta Darlins upscale consignment and family salon; helped Yazoo City’s Town Center Historic District earn the CVB Honors award for Attraction of the Year 2012 from Yazoo County CVB; purchased and renovated a trolley-style tour bus to offer tours of Yazoo County and beyond to visitors, including stay & tour packages for patrons of the Main Street Hotel, and blues tours.
Paul and JoAnn Adams have worked tirelessly and selflessly to promote, enhance and develop Yazoo City’s tourism economy through the revitalization of its historic district. Due to their efforts and their work with the community, historic downtown Yazoo City is once again a thriving area that brings tourists, and their dollars, to Yazoo County from far and wide.
The excitement about Paul and JoAnn’s big win barely had time to die down before another big win for Yazoo County was announced. The Yazoo County Convention and Visitors Bureau was awarded CVB of the Year for CVBs with an annual budget of $250,000 to $500,000 for the second year in a row. Winning CVB of the Year is no easy feat in this budget category, where many of the active CVBs compete. To win two years in a row is quite an honor.
“I am almost speechless,” said Tonja Ray- Smith. “Last year’s win brought me to tears. To receive such a distinction two years in a row confirms what I’ve always known in my heart – that Yazoo County is a great place to visit, that we have a great tourism product, and that our office is one of the best. I am truly honored.”
The defining moments of the Yazoo County CVB’s victory were: the second CVB Honors, an awards program that celebrated the key people of Yazoo County’s tourism economy; the second Fire & Feast BBQ Competition & Festival, which has already become an important stop on the Memphis Barbecue Network circuit; the opening of their all-new office and Yazoo County Visitors Center in the convenient Highway 49 (Jerry Clower Boulevard) location in Yazoo City; the 41st Anniversary of the Bentonia Blues Festival and the 4th annual Unwind After 5 at the Blue Front Cafe on the evening before the festival.
The new brand positioning for Yazoo County, “Visit Yazoo”, gained marketing recognition from Constant Contact, and the new VisitYazoo.org website saw large increases in traffic over previous years. Yazoo City was nominated as one of the “Prettiest Painted Places in America,” and the Yazoo County area received accolades and positive write-ups in several influential publications and broadcasts including: Garden & Gun, Mississippi Magazine, Delta Business Journal, Look Around Mississippi, and The Clarion Ledger.
Their on-going diligence with events and community outreach has allowed them to better target their travelers and bring in more groups. The Yazoo County CVB continues to host various groups to their region touring the historic sites and cemeteries. The CVB works hard to build its community and its tourism product, while attracting travelers from around the state and around the world to “Visit Yazoo.”
“This is such an honor for us, but it’s also a great honor for Yazoo County. We have so much to offer a tourist, and that’s not something we could ever do alone,” says Smith. “We should all be proud of this win – from the people who give our travelers and tourists a warm smile and good directions, to those like JoAnn and Paul Adams who go above and beyond to give folks a reason to come to Yazoo County – this award says Yazoo County is a great place to visit.”