The Coahoma County Tourism Commission Board meeting brought financial reports and opportunities to broaden the area’s brand and its place on national tours.

As the meeting began, board member Willis Frazier offered a motion for the board to dedicate the meeting to the memory of Mark Benson, from Tennessee, an important supporter of Clarksdale tourism who passed away during the previous week. The motion passed.

After approving the agenda and the minutes from the previous meeting, the board reviewed a series of financial reports.

The reports included the current bank balances, the reconciliation reports, the outstanding checks, the profit-and-loss statement through the end of January, the accounts payable, and the credit card statement.

A request to fund a portion of a “fam trip,” (the term used to describe opportunities to recruit travel companies to include Clarksdale in their tours) for a travel group from the United Kingdom was reviewed and approved by the board. 

The board then considered its annual support of the Juke Joint Festival, one of the premier festivals of the year.

Board chair Roger Stolle recused himself from the discussion because of his involvement in the festival.

After discussion, the board approved a motion to support the festival in the same amount as it did in 2021, which was $15,000. 

The board also voted to support a National Heritage Alliance event, an event bringing attendees from across the country. The board approved the request of $2,500 in financial support.

Upon motion, the board continued the report from Shannon Gray Research until its March meeting. 

Executive Director Bubba O’Keefe updated the board on the work with Electric Digital, a company based in Nevada that has reviewed and evaluated the internet and social media presence of Coahoma County Tourism.

The group will compose three proposals, one each for the website, social media strategy, and short-term social media management. 

O’Keefe then presented the director’s report to the board, beginning with the International Media conference in New York.

O’Keefe conducted 20 meetings with tour companies, and all but perhaps two were successful, he explained.

The trip of Clarksdale blues artists to Florida Gulf Coast University was also successful, he added. The performances and the symposium were popular on campus, as expected. The number of students and faculty who approached the group about visiting was highly encouraging as well.

Some students who had already visited Clarksdale wore t-shirts promoting it and were walking advertisements.

O’Keefe reported that Dr. Clay Motley, a FGCU professor who organized the event, was also pleased with its success. 

Unfortunately, the concert by Kingfish and Charlie Musselwhite in Key West during the same week was canceled.

The next and final recruiting trip by O’Keefe is the Domestic Travel Marketplace, to be held in Virginia Beach.

O’Keefe explained that the season between the winter and early March is a down time for tourism in most places, allowing tour companies to hold their conferences during this season of the year.

O’Keefe added that he has been especially pleased with the results of the conferences.

After a reminder that the next major tourism event is the Juke Joint Festival, set for April 21-24, the board considered and approved a motion to adjourn.

The Coahoma County Tourism Board meets monthly and is charged with managing and spending the hotel/motel and restaurant tax collected from local buinesses.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here