Explore the Natchez Trace: Mississippi | Alabama | Tennessee.

Discover America...a unique journey from Natchez to Nashville.

About the Compact

Overview: The Parkway
bicyclingonthetraceThis historic, 444-mile scenic parkway links Natchez with Nashville and crosses some of the most beautiful terrain in the states of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. The Parkway has been declared a National Scenic Byway and an All-American Road and has been chosen as one of America’s 10 best biking roads.

Open year-round for motorists, hikers and bikers, it provides visitors the opportunity for an unhurried trip through time. Maintained and administered by the National Park Service, the Parkway is headquartered in Tupelo, Mississippi.

It began as a trail traveled by Indians and wild animals almost 8,000 years ago and in our recent history was used by Spanish explorers, British troops and later by Southern frontier settlers. During the eras of French, British and American settlement, the Parkway provided an important route between the interior highlands and the Lower Mississippi River Valley. With the arrival of the steamboat, the Parkway declined in importance as a major trade route and became a route for use by locals. The Natchez Trace Parkway was created by Congress in 1938 and today is one of the most used Federal roads in the National Park System. The route attracts visitors from across the United States, Canada and Europe. Its non-commercial environment coupled with a wide variety of historic sites and scenic venues make it one of America’s treasures.

Overview: The Group
In an ambitious effort to promote visitation to the communities located on either side of the historic route, the Natchez Trace Compact, Inc. was formed in 1999.

Initially composed of five Mississippi cities – Natchez, Jackson, Ridgeland, Kosciusko and Tupelo, the Compact has now added the Mississippi communities of Port Gibson, Raymond, Clinton, French Camp and Tishomingo County, the Alabama cities of Florence, Muscle Shoals, Sheffield and Tuscumbia, and the Tennessee cities of Collinwood, Hohenwald, Leiper’s Fork, Franklin and Nashville. Additional communities in each of the states will be added to the Compact as the program’s outreach expands.

hikingthetraceIn addition to the above cities, the state Tourism offices of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee are Compact members and work together to ensure a strong marketing partnership. The organization operates under a formal Memorandum of Understanding with the National Park Service.

Scope of the Project
The group’s primary objective is to attract more visitors to travel the Parkway and take the time to explore all there is to see and do along the way.

The organization has identified target markets for an advertising program which include consumer, group tour and niche areas. The group has developed complete marketing, public relations and itineraries which are grouped geographically with the ability to link together, enabling the visitor to travel the full length of the Parkway with exciting “not to miss” recommendations. Niche areas include those interested in RVing, motorcycling and bicycling.

FY 2010 Accomplishments:

Group Organizational Highlights

* Held meetings at various locations along the Trace corridor.
* Continued to enhance and implement a 3-state strategy to market tourism activities.
* Operated under a marketing plan that included:

  • Media Placement & Collaterals
  • Public Relations
  • Research
  • Special Projects
  • Website
  • Production
  • Administrative

* Awarded Scenic Byways Marketing Grants from 2005 – 2009 by the Federal Highway Administration to enhance the marketing campaign.

* Completed the 2005-2006 Scenic Byways Marketing Grants,  implementing the 2007-2008 grants and allocated the 2009 grant.

* Wrote a media and collateral material Scenic Byways Marketing Grant for the 2010 program (decision pending).

Established New Goals for FY 2011

  • Incorporate Trails programs into the Compact marketing materials.
  • Create iphone app elements to launch when ready.
  • Update Visitors Guide.
  • Capture Seasonal video footage to produce an 8-minute visitor center piece, 3-minute sales piece and :30 second promotional clip.
  • Implement social media manager tasks for on-line social marketing efforts.
  • Fulfill national media schedule to reach a larger consumer and niche audience.
  • Fulfill inquiry requests.
  • Develop plans for additional future funding.
  • Close the 2007 NSB grant program (awarded June 2008), as well as continue implementation of the 2008 NSB grant (awarded April 2009).
  • Redesign www.scenictrace.com with interactive elements.
  • Continue e-newsletter campaign.
  • Continue bi-annual rack card of events.
  • Continue online promotions.
  • Update image brochure as needed.
  • Implement public relations campaign beginning with research.
  • Form a closer partnership with the National Park Service and headquarter staff to cross promote within the communities that lie along the Natchez Trace and address Parkway issues.
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