|TUPELO SELL THE ELVIS CONNECTION TO THE UK
November 11, 2015 - Daily Journal / Elvis Express Radio
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Last week, Mayor Jason Shelton traveled to London alongside Neal McCoy and Jennie Bradford Curlee from the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau to attract international
travelers to Tupelo at the World Travel Market expo.
With almost every country represented at the expo, Tupelo partnered with Memphis to tell Elvis’s story along with Priscilla Presley, who was already in the UK to promote a new
album, “If I Can Dream: Elvis with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.”
The album, produced by Priscilla Presley, reached No. 1 on the UK Billboard charts while Shelton, McCoy and Curlee stayed in London.
More than 200 tour and travel operators and media representatives attended the Tupelo and Memphis trade show at the Elvis at the O2 Exhibition, which featured artifacts from
Elvis’s beginnings in Tupelo.
“The mayor got up to say a few words and did a fantastic job of expressing his desire to have more people come visit and stay overnight in Tupelo,” McCoy said. “As soon as he
spoke, Priscilla spoke, and she spoke extremely fondly of Tupelo.”
Presley visited Tupelo last year to see the work being done to preserve the legacy of the King of Rock ’n’ Roll.
According to Curlee, one tour operator said Tupelo’s trade show was the best reception he had attended as part of the World Travel Market.
With the strength of the British pound and Euro against the U.S. dollar, Shelton said, in an email while in London, now is arguably the best time for European tourists to visit the
“Having that spending in Tupelo helps our local economy, the state and the national economy,” he said. “It is really a win for everyone involved and allows us to do more in Tupelo
without placing any additional financial burden, even for discretionary spending, on our residents.”
Besides attending the World Travel Expo and hosting their trade show, Shelton, McCoy and Curlee met with one of the top tour groups called NewMarket Holidays to give updates
“We invited him to Tupelo,” Curlee said. “By doing that and seeing him in London, he’s coming to see us now. We really were able to talk about extending the stay of our tour
Curlee said she hopes he will create an itinerary for travels to increase overnight stays.
By turning day trips into overnight stays, Tupelo’s sales tax revenue could boom, McCoy said.
The trip helped Shelton see just how intensely competitive the global tourism industry has become.
“We have to be able to compete globally if we want to be successful in growing the number of visitors in Tupelo,” he said. “With over half of our city’s revenue coming from sales tax,
this is a crucial mission to grow our tax base.”
By growing the tax base, Shelton said the city can focus on neighborhood revitalization, infrastructure improvements and enhanced quality of life opportunities without putting
additional strain on the general fund budget.