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April 17, 2024

Delta Tourism Forum June 8

GRAMMY Museum MS to host event free and open to the public

By Jack Criss

The Bolivar Bullet

On Wednesday night, June 8, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., industry leaders will gather as a panel at the Grammy Museum in Cleveland will discuss Delta-wide tourism in a general discussion aimed at maximizing the region as a top draw for visitors. The assembled group members will give an update on their own efforts as well as field questions from the audience. Attendance is open to the public. There is no admission charge, but seating is limited. Up and coming Cleveland-based blues guitarist, Keith Johnson, will close the evening with a brief solo set.

“How Does The Delta  Win More Tourism,” the evening’s theme, is being sponsored by the Mississippi Press Association, the Mississippi Humanities Council, and locally by The Bolivar Bullet newspaper.  

“I’m pleased to be a part of this unique tourism forum for the Delta,” said Scott Coopwood, Publisher of The Bolivar Bullet. “My thanks go to Layne Bruce with the Mississippi Press Association, as well as the Mississippi Humanities Council and all of the participants, for helping us make this event happen. The strength and solidarity of the Delta’s cultural leaders, from throughout our region, will be represented at this forum as we seek to find the best ways to entice visitors to one of, if not the, greatest areas to visit in the country.”

Bruce, the Executive Director of the Mississippi Press Association, states that the MPA is working with similar organizations around the country to sponsor such events in other towns nationwide. 

“We’re seeking to emphasize the truism that local media drives community discussion,” said Bruce. “Such as this exciting forum on Delta tourism. The Mississippi Humanities Council received a grant from The Mellon Foundation to engage the public in conversations about local journalism and the result are forums and meetings such as these. We’ll be hosting an event in Tupelo on education and brain drain the night after we meet in Cleveland, for example. This tourism discussion will be our inaugural event and I couldn’t be more pleased to start with such an important topic as tourism in the Delta.”

“We are thrilled to be hosting leaders in our industry at the Museum for what will be an important and enlightening evening of conversation,” says Emily Havens, Executive Director of GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, who will be one of the panelists at the forum. “While we are so fortunate to have a wonderful local community of patrons, our Museum also largely thrives on tourism. Welcoming visitors from across the country and around the world to experience and learn about the impact Delta artists have made on American music is incredibly vital. I am excited to join the other exceptional panelists at this event to discuss how we can continue to promote the Delta as a travel destination.” 

Wayne Dowdy, Program Manager for the MS Delta National Heritage Area with the Delta Center for Culture and Learning headquartered on the campus of Delta State University, will be one of the panelists at the forum, along with his colleague at the Center, Todd Campbell. “Tourism is so important to our region,” said Dowdy. “And, promoting our culture is central to the work we do here at the Delta Center. I’m honored and excited to be on the panel and look forward to an enlightening evening.”

Another panelist, Beth Stevens, Executive Director of the Greenwood-Leflore Chamber of Commerce, said, “This will be a rare and wonderful opportunity to spotlight one of our greatest strengths of our region. I think that, too often, those of us who live here take what we have for granted sometimes; this forum promises to help us examine and find better, more unified ways to promote tourism through discussion and dialogue.”

Roger Stolle will be representing Clarksdale and Coahoma County on the panel. The businessman and longtime tourism executive said that, “I always love discussing tourism so I think the event is much-needed. We want visitors to the Delta to engage in and with our communities, not just pass through, and possibly even invest in our towns. This forum will be a sharing of experiences from the different communities represented and I think such a meeting of the minds will bear valuable fruit going forward.”

Other panelists at the event will include Shelley Ritter, Director of the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale; Emily Havens, Executive Director of the host Grammy Museum; and Malika Polk-Lee, Executive Director of the B.B. King Museum in Indianola, with more to be announced. Coopwood will serve as the evening’s moderator. 

For more information, contact Scott Coopwood at 662-843-2700.