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We all play role in pilgrimage

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us one thing, it is that nothing should be taken for granted.

Ninety years later after the first Spring Pilgrimage, most Natchez residents have grown to expect an influx of visitors when the azaleas start to bloom in the spring and the spider lilies emerge in the fall.

This spring, what residents took for granted suddenly evaporated as the COVID-19 virus shutdown the world economy.

What a difference six months makes.

Thankfully, the historic houses that were closed this spring will now be open for the annual Fall Pilgrimage.

What was taken for granted is back and, now more than ever, you have a role to play in helping tourism come back to life in Natchez.

As the pilgrimage season kicks off, we hope visitors to the area will leave with an experience worth tweeting, texting and raving about with friends and family on social media and beyond.

That is where you come in.

Your smile, helpful directions and generous hospitality can make or break the guest experience.

Natchez is only as good as the reputation tourists take with them. That reputation depends on the community members that visitors meet throughout the day.

If just a few dissatisfied guests share poor experiences or bad impressions — in real time or on social media — it can drive away many more potential visitors.

As we try to attract more tourists and more tourist dollars to the area, make a point to smile more and reach out to people who appear lost or in need of help.

We all can play a role in restarting our tourism economy. After all, we should take nothing for granted.