The Mississippi riverboats are coming back to Vicksburg this summer.
Laura Beth Strickland, executive director of Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, has announced that the first riverboat will arrive July 13.
The City of Vicksburg has suffered significantly from the impacts of COVID-19. Much of the city’s economy is based on tourism, and with the closures and lack of tourists, the city’s attractions and local businesses have had a hard time.
Last year, the economic impact from riverboat tourists was $2.26 million. This year, the city estimated a reduction of at least $1.2 million. Of 181 scheduled boat dockings for 2020, 80 were canceled because of COVID-19 restrictions.
“We were really set to have a banner year in tourism,” Strickland said. “We know that we will be the first to bounce back.”
The riverboat companies have rules and guidelines in place for safe travel and social distancing during the pandemic. They first do a pre-cruise screening for staff and passengers, then a specific boarding procedure, and finally, they have strict cleaning and sanitation procedures. Once they arrive in Vicksburg, passengers are encouraged to follow the city’s and state’s guidelines.
“Our main goal right now is to get the message out there,” Strickland said. “Most of our museums are open, tour homes are open, and the casinos are open.”
The riverboats should start to come back regularly through the summer and fall.
“We will be excited to see those boats dock and see them coming and enjoying everything we have to offer.” Strickland said.