Visit Ridgeland rebrands, opens new center

Visit Ridgeland rebrands, opens new center


The Ridgeland Vistors Center rolled out a new brand and bike share program at their grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting at their new space at the Renaissance last week.

“We are so excited to finally be in our new location,” said Katie Coats, director of marketing and public relations with Explore Ridgeland.

Late in the afternoon on Feb. 15, the Ridgeland Tourism Commission opened their new location in the Renaissance at Colony Park next to the AT&T Store and unveiled Explore Ridgeland, their new brand. Thursday was followed by a Ribbon Cutting held the following morning on Feb. 16.

“Transitioning from Visit Ridgeland to Explore Ridgeland signifies a renewed approach to showcasing Ridgeland as a premier travel destination,” a statement from the city of Ridgeland said. “The City is excited about the future and would like to thank Chris Chapman and her team for all of their hard work with the rebranding and promotion of our great City.” 

New features highlighted at the new visitors center include a Bikeshare patio with Explore Ridgeland branded bikes, an outdoor scenic mural, Bill Waller Craft Center displays, local art, a 24-hour accessible True Omni Kiosk, and a branded conference room and bike wall depicting Ridgeland trails.

Coats said Explore Ridgeland was the result of nearly two years of research and design. 

The redesign was handled in part by Mad Genius, a Ridgeland-based firm, which was selected after a nationwide search for a creative partner.

“Mad Genius has called Ridgeland home since its inception 19 years ago,” said Rob Bridges, CEO of Mad Genius. “We are proud of our city and eager to see it continue to flourish. Everyone at Mad Genius is honored to be Ridgeland Tourism’s creative partner, and we are keen to help them launch their new brand strategy to provoke curiosity, stir a passion for exploration, and guide visitors new and old to our great city.”

Chris Chapman, president and CEO of Explore Ridgeland, said the new brand elements will be used to market the city across the nation to attract visitors and business partners who will help positively impact the local economy and increase the quality of life for residents. 

“These projects have been the result of cooperation and collaboration with stakeholders and leaders from our community as well as visitors from around the region who came to Ridgeland as leisure consumers, group travel experts, small meeting planners, and event and sports organizers,” Chapman said. “We look forward to getting the word out to our audiences about our new brand and many new offerings.”

Chapman said tourism is Mississippi’s fourth-largest industry and noted tourism plays a vital role in Ridgeland. Chapman has been happy to see Ridgeland grow in the 27 years RTC has been involved in growing the city.

“We have seen growth and changes in all departments - marketing, sales, visitor services - and in the world, through the digital landscape and the evolving role of destination marketing organizations in their communities,” added Chapman. “Collectively, our staff has over 80 years of tourism experience to help make Ridgeland one of the fastest-growing tourism markets in our State, especially for outdoor enthusiasts, shoppers, and event-goers.”

In 2022, visitors spent $106.8 million in Ridgeland which generated an economic impact of $121.6 million, according to Chapman. Chapman said that money came from outside the region and benefited the local community and even helped to create 1,093 jobs, representing a growth of over 11 percent from 2021.

“Ultimately, our mission is to increase opportunity and economic impact for our city, and we believe the ‘Explore Ridgeland’ message will encourage guests and residents alike to explore their passions and tell others about our thriving city,” Chapman said.

The new Visitors Center is located on the I-55 side of the Renaissance at Colony Park at 1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 3002 between Barnes and Noble & AT&T. Previously the Visitors Center was housed in a space on the other end of the Renaissance across from Zea Rotisserie and Bar under the old Visit Ridgeland brand.

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