McGee receives award from tourism group
Ridgeland Mayor Gene McGee received the 2021 Governmental Tourism Leadership Award from the Mississippi Tourism Association last week.
The award is given to a government entity that supports tourism and helps attract visitors while working with their tourism partners. Examples of government entities include but are not limited to state legislators and local government officials, such as mayors, aldermen/supervisors, city and county clerks, etc.
MTA recognized the impact and accomplishments of the state’s tourism industry at its tourism awards ceremony held during the Governor’s Conference on Tourism at the Jackson Convention Complex in Jackson October 20-22, 2021. This annual educational and professional development event brought together around 200 tourism industry professionals from across the state as well as tourism partners from the surrounding region.
The awards program allows MTA to recognize members who excel in various sectors of the industry. Awards were presented in 19 categories, each focusing on a different aspect of the hospitality industry or individual achievement.
The Ridgeland Tourism Commission exists because of Mayor Gene McGee’s forward-thinking leadership and his persistence in having this destination marketing organization created by the Mississippi Legislature, MTA officials said.
“When he was elected in 1989, Ridgeland did not have a distinct identity,” MTA officials said in a statement. “One of Mayor McGee’s first goals was to remedy that by initiating and overseeing Ridgeland’s 20-mile multi-use trail system and four miles of bike lanes. His vision quickly became a reality as a transportation plan was created, funding was secured, and construction was begun. Promotional efforts continue to this day. Under Mayor McGee’s leadership, one of the first helmet laws in Mississippi was passed, and Ridgeland secured the title of a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community.
“Mayor McGee also spearheaded two of Ridgeland’s major retail districts, The Renaissance and Township, which now contribute to the image of Ridgeland as a premier shopping and dining destination for visitors. Throughout the pandemic, Mayor McGee not only kept the light burning but assisted in the opening of eight new restaurants in Ridgeland.”
“It is truly an honor to celebrate these members who work tirelessly for their communities. The competition was strong, and that is a testament to the caliber of work being produced by our industry partners and the strength and competitiveness of Mississippi tourism,” said MTA Executive Director Danielle Morgan.
Accolades earned by the City of Ridgeland under Mayor McGee’s leadership include Mississippi’s Healthiest Hometown, the Clarion-Ledger/Mississippi Municipal League Excellence Award, the Keep Mississippi Beautiful Hall of Fame, the Tree City USA Green Mayor Award: Green Award for Urban Forestry, and the Keep Mississippi Beautiful 2013 Local Government Award. Ridgeland was named one of America’s 100 Best Places to Live by Money magazine.