Mississippi River Geotourism Program
Just as the Mississippi River is the backbone of trade and commerce for communities along its banks, so too is it a major driver for tourism, culture, history, and heritage in the communities that call the River home. Furthermore, the Delta region has one of the strongest profiles for geotourism opportunities in the world, possessing unique assets, businesses, and attractions that serve to sustain and enhance the distinct geographic character of the region.
To help promote the region as a prime destination for travel and geotourism, Delta Regional Authority is working with its federal, regional, and state partners and the Mississippi River Connections Collaborative to make the Mississippi River a National Geographic Geotourism Destination. Through this partnership, National Geographic Society has built an interactive website that effectively showcases many of the businesses, attractions, events, and tourism assets that the communities along the River--from the headwaters to the Gulf--have to offer travelers from down the road to around the world. DRA sits on the region's Geotourism Stewardship Council, which executes the outreach to local communities to increase involvement in the program as well as promote the website, accompanying mapguide (soon to be published), and additional tourism opportunities to potential domestic and international visitors.
For more information, contact Joshua Price at firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Geographic with support from the partners of the region's Geotourism Stewardship Council are developing an interactive website of the Mississippi River to help tell the story of the region to visitors. In order to populate the website with rich content from a comprehensive collection of the businesses, attractions, and events that bring visitors from all over the world, the Council invites local residents and businesses owners involved or interested in tourism in the region to tell the story of the places they would recommend people to visit and nominate these on the website.
This free program is asking local people along the length of the River to identify and map what’s unique about their communities. All sites, attractions or businesses that fit the Geotourism Criteria (see criteria here) and are within a county that borders the Mississippi River are eligible to be nominated.
People can nominate sites, businesses, attractions, and events in their community at http://mississippiriver.natgeotourism.com.
The website is currently in beta form and is expected to launch fully in July 2016 with additional outreach events in August (St. Louis and Minneapolis-St. Paul), September (Natchez and New Orleans), and October (Quad Cities, IA, and Memphis). More to come on these outreach events soon.
Geotourism Town Hall Meetings
To promote the program, collect nominations for the website, and educate residents and stakeholders of the opportunity this program provides to their community, National Geographic and the region's Geotourism Stewardship Council is hosting town hall meetings in each of the states along the Mississippi River. These meetings, which last approximately 90 minutes, are opportunities for those interested and invested in tourism in their local community or greater region to learn about the program and the nomination process for their favorite sites, attractions, businesses, and events. Town hall meetings have been conducted in nine of the ten states along the River.