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Mississippi Tourism Association Board President Dede Mogollon with Visit Meridian recently presented one of two major state tourism awards to Kim Terrell, Executive Director of the DeSoto County Tourism Association.

The Mississippi Tourism Association (MTA) presented their annual awards for tourism achievement for the year 2017 during activities at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism held at the Oxford Conference Center in Oxford on Sept. 23-25, 2018.

The awards program recognizes outstanding contributions to the advancement of tourism by members of the 300-plus-member private sector organization as well as honoring travel media, community leaders and friends of the industry.

Awards were presented in 15 categories, each focusing on a different aspect of the hospitality industry or individual achievement.

The Tourism Investment Award was presented to DeSoto County Tourism for investing in the future and generating revenue in the present. Turn the challenge into a positive by introducing DeSoto as a destination full of “real” experiences for visitors who love to “explore” and by celebrating those who don’t feel they always have to do a cookie-cutter vacation.

Thus, the campaign: “South of the Ordinary” was born.

Insights uncovered through research showed that not only are travelers increasingly seeking tourism destinations that offer a more authentic experience, they’re also searching for and booking these experiences independently through mobile devices.

Bearing this in mind, DeSoto County Tourism partnered with Sullivan Branding to develop and launch an entirely new website that allows visitors to view and book events, lodging, and find where to dine on the best local cuisine. The site set DeSoto County Tourism above and beyond its peers, in that the website is unparalleled in how comprehensive the user experience is thoughtful, yet convenient.

The next iteration of this site will include functionality that allows users to curate and customize their experience further with hand picked itineraries, seasonal recommendations, and more.

“This recognition should be given to our tourism industry leaders who we value for their talents and achievements through their outstanding accomplishments. We are happy to have the opportunity to honor the winners of these awards as we truly appreciate their dedication not only to our organization but to the entire tourism industry,” said Dede Mogollon, 2018-2019 president of MTA.

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