Tourism budget sees increase for ‘24

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Record incoming UM freshman class expected to generate added dollars

By Will Westmoreland

The Oxford Tourism Council approved a proposed 2024 budget, which will take effect Oct. 1, of $1.54 million, an increase of nearly $400,000 from the ’23 budget.

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Income from hotel and motel taxes from local motel, hotels, food and beverage vendors, along with tourism sales and tourism-related grants, will make up the added dollars. A significant factor in the increase, according to council members, is the record size of the incoming University of Mississippi freshman class.

The budget was presented at the OTC’s monthly meeting June 19 at the Oxford Conference Center.

A motion to host Atlanta-based public relations firm Lou Hammond Group was approved at a cost of $5,500 a month. The group aims to promote the City of Oxford itself and the OTC to a wider audience. The motion was approved unanimously.

The 2024 Double Decker Arts Festival budget is projected at $190,000, the same as 2023’s. April’s event went off without a hitch, with a record number of art vendors and two nights worth of well-attended live music performances.
The 5K run saw its largest turnout ever, with nearly half (47 percent) of the competitors hailing from outside Oxford, some from as far away as Europe.

The Visit Oxford team tallied total June tourism revenue for the City of Oxford at just over $2.6 million, a 61 percent increase from June 2022. The executive director of Visit Oxford, Kinney Ferris, reported that both the council and Visit Oxford are “in great financial shape.”

Upcoming events include the Fourth of July celebration, which will feature the annual fireworks show behind Oxford High School at 9 p.m., presented by lNE Sparq.