Mississippi Welcome Centers function as an extension of the warmth and hospitality of Mississippians to visitors by providing them with information and services designed to promote “travel spending” in the state. According to the Federal Aid Highway Program Manual, Volume 6, Chapter 2, Section 5, Subsection I, Welcome Centers/Information Centers are for the purpose of providing specific information to the motorists as to services, places of interest within the state and such information the state may consider desirable. Because the centers play such a prominent role in providing travelers with an impression of Mississippi, all printed promotional brochures should be approved before they are placed in the Mississippi Welcome Centers.
I. Solicitation Policy
Solicitation of any kind, for any purpose, is strictly prohibited, including the distribution or dissemination of literature and materials, except as provided for in Section II below. This restriction is pursuant to the statutory authority to advertise only the tourist attractions, natural resources, industry, history and economic development of the state as set forth in the Federal Aid Highway Program Manual.
II. Publications Distribution Policy
Publication distribution allows persons or groups to display tourist promotional brochures at the welcome centers on a space-available rotating basis.
Persons or groups desiring to have a travel publication distributed in the Mississippi Welcome Centers should make a written request with thirteen (13) sample copies of the publication or email the request for distribution of promotional tourism information along with an electronic copy of the materials being submitted to the Welcome Center Bureau for consideration.
Requests should be sent to the attention of
Tonya Neely, Bureau Manager
MDA Welcome Centers
P. O. Box 849
Jackson, MS 39205
If a publication is approved for distribution in the welcome centers, a list of the centers with their addresses and a recommended quantity for each center will be sent to you. The brochures should be sent directly to each center according to the quantity recommended. The quantity enclosed should be listed on the outside and inside of the package.
Brochure approval should be renewed whenever any printing changes such as price, design and/or content occur. No brochure is to be placed in the welcome centers without prior approval.
First priority for display and distribution will be given to brochures describing primary travel attractions, sightseeing tours and events such as pilgrimages. Also included in this category are tourist publications published by convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce, municipalities and local tourism associations, and those publications describing industries of Mississippi, such as agriculture, commodities, textiles, etc. Other priority publications include those produced by historical and recreational organizations and those produced by agencies of the state of Mississippi that are travel-related.
Secondary space priority will be given to primary travel-serving commercial establishments such as lodging properties and restaurants.
Limited additional information on Mississippi may be placed at the centers if it has been determined that it will be of benefit to the staff in answering inquiries from visitors concerning tourism and that it is an aid in promoting travel spending in the state.
III. Criteria for Selection
The following criteria shall apply in the selection of publications to be distributed:
1. Information should promote tourism and furnish pertinent information to visitors about Mississippi points of interest.
2. Format: The recommended size of brochures should measure approximately nine (9) inches in height and four (4) inches in width, vertical format, with the name of the establishment at the top of the brochure. However, there is limited space available for 8 ½ X 11 magazine-size and 5 ½ X 11 digest-sized pieces. The paper should be of sufficient weight, which stands in the brochure rack without bending; discount coupons should be at least sixty-five (65) pound cover weight paper, and the brochure should be at least sixty-five (65) pound text weight.
3. Brochures should be professionally typeset, error-free and should contain proper English usage.
4. Coupons or brochures, which quote special rates, should have a professionally printed or stamped expiration date and price. If the discount is a percentage or dollar amount off, the regular price that this discount applies to should be printed on the coupon. This will allow visitors to know that the price is after the discount is applied.
5. Coupons should state any and all restrictions that may apply, such as number of people per room, number of beds per room, floor level of rooms, etc. If the coupon is not good for advanced reservations, it should state this on the coupon. PLEASE NOTE: Once a coupon is approved, it should be available to the public until the date of expiration. The coupon will not be pulled from the brochure rack because of increased occupancy rates before the expiration date. Coupons approved will be available except when the property is booked.
6. Publications of Mississippi establishments should not have an out of state headline. Brochures should not contain more than five (5) per cent out of state information. Depending on the number of requests for information, the five (5) percent limitation may be waived at the discretion of Welcome Centers Bureau Manager.
7. Excluded Publications
Publications meeting the criteria for distribution as set forth, may be ineligible for display or distribution if:
a. The publication is political or promotes religious beliefs in nature and content.
b. The publication is devoted exclusively to the advertisement of real estate.
c. The publication represents a property that has changed names since the publication was originally printed and approved.
d. The publication is a coupon with a special rate or discount but has no expiration date.
e. The publication promotes a time-share or membership establishment, which does not rent to the traveling public or offers a gift in exchange for attendance at a sales presentation, or discount.
f. The publication does not advertise tourist attractions, natural resources, industry, history and quality of life within Mississippi.