In the late 1980s, the business and elected leadership of the Hattiesburg area made a bold move to transform the way economic development was executed from all approaches including recruitment, retention, tourism and product development. The recognition of the correlation between visitor attraction and the recruitment of new jobs and capital ignited a collaborative spirit that led to the creation of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission.
In 1991 old entities were disbanded and new ones created, all with the focus of meeting the needs of the people being served, improving quality of life and infusing additional revenue into the local economy. The Commission was formed with a legislative mandate from the State of Mississippi, charged with the responsibility of developing a convention center and other tourism-related facilities that would increase revenue and economic prosperity in the region.
In 2017, the Hattiesburg Convention Commission (HCC) and the Hattiesburg Tourism Commission separated into two entities.
The HCC is responsible for the operation, management and long-term success of ten, top Mississippi tourism attractions and projects including the Hattiesburg Zoo, African American Military History Museum, Saenger Theater, Hattiesburg Pocket Museum, the Lawn at Lake Terrace, the Lake Terrace Convention Center, the Sixth Street Museum District, the Historic Eureka School Museum Project, the Oseola McCarty House and Smith Drug Co.
Today, the Hattiesburg Convention Commission stands as a leader in Hattiesburg’s and Mississippi’s vibrant visitor industry, contributing more than $160 million annually to the local economy.