- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 18, 2017

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) - An increase in riverboat traffic is expected to bring more than 40,000 visitors to Vicksburg this year.

The Vicksburg Post reports (https://bit.ly/2oGYMxp) that tourists traveling by riverboat have generated a significant economic impact for the city, whose waterfront is a featured stop. Some t30,000 riverboat passengers visited Vicksburg in 2016.

The American Queen steamboat is the largest ship to regularly visit Vicksburg, with a capacity of 436 passengers. Its parent company estimated each stop in the city yields a $23,000 to $27,000 impact.

Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Bill Serrat said the overall increase in riverboat visits translates to a larger awareness of the city through word-of-mouth advertising from passengers.

“It is not so much the money they spend,” Serrat said. “But, the brand awareness and the things they say about Vicksburg is tremendously important. It is what encourages others to come and see Vicksburg for themselves.”

At least four boats are scheduled to dock in Vicksburg on Nov. 14, which will be the largest confluence thus far. City officials are organizing events and logistics to welcome the visitors. The Vicksburg Police Department will work with the Main Street program, a community organization for the historic downtown district, to organize bus traffic.

Serrat said his office has worked with the Carl Small Town Center at Mississippi State University to improve the visitor arrival area.

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