Fine attractions and strategic marketing has tourism booming, creating a vast economic impact in the quintessential Southern city of Oxford
This week marks the 34th annual National Travel and Tourism Week–an annual salute to travel across America. The tourism industry continues to grow; nationally tourists spend $990.3 billion on their travels in 2016. Here in quaint Oxford, travelers spent over $153 billion, an increase of over 13 percent from the year prior, creating a positive economic impact for the entire community.
A boost in tourism can be accredited to Oxford’s unique attractions and strategic marketing plan. Visit Oxford Mississippi achieved both regional and national media coverage over the last year, which resulted in 40 published articles, garnished 1.8 billion impressions that have an estimated value of more than $17 million. Publications include: USA Today, Southern Living, Travel and Leisure Magazine, TripAdvisor and The Smithsonian, among others.
These articles showcase the best of Oxford, including the iconic Ole Miss college football scene, the great literary heritage of author greats like William Faulkner, John Grisham, Willie Morris and Barry Hannah and the many appetite enticing restaurants under the direction of John Currence–a James Beard award-winning chef. Not to be left out, highlights also include Oxford’s outdoor biking trails, unique boutiques and annual festivals, all of which truly make Oxford the mecca of Southern culture.
The travel industry supports 15.3 million American workers. Here in Oxford, tourism supports 2,000 jobs, which is up 200 jobs from 2015. The local community is also seeing a larger tax relief due to increased tourism. Each Lafayette household saw a $761.85 tax relief due to increased traveler spending.
“With a small advertising budget compared to our competitors, we thrive on media relations. Many tourists in our Visitors Center tell us time and time again that they read a story about Oxford or saw a travel blog post by their favorite blogger that mentioned what not to miss about our city. That’s when our staff at Visit Oxford feels like we’ve accomplished our mission of attracting visitors for the economic impact of our community,” said Kinney Ferris, deputy director, Visit Oxford. “We spend a large portion of our time investing in hosting regional and national writers because, once people come to this place, they understand why it’s so special. After hosting writers, they always tell us they’ve found a place their readers will wanted to put on their travel list; we just have to get them here!”
The city of Oxford saw a direct impact in revenue due to the increase in travel. Oxford collected $2.9 million in food and beverage tax, which is an increase of more than 14 percent from the year before. Oxford also collected $450,993 in motel/hotel tax revenue, which is up 44 percent from 2015. Area investors are confident in the growing tourism industry in Oxford, spending $21.9 million in 2016 on new hotels, hotel renovations, new restaurants and retail stores, which is an increase of $5.2 million.
Distinguished attractions and a keen marketing plan make for a winning combination for the entire Oxford community.