New York, 2022-08-16 13:27:01. Anniversary of Elvis’ death increases tourism in his hometown
Tupelo, Ms. –
Elvis Presley’s Birthplace and Museum in Tupelo, Mississippi, has welcomed a growing number of visitors as fans celebrate the 45th anniversary of Presley’s death and a new movie sparks international interest in the singer.
Roy Turner was appointed CEO of the birthplace last fall after longtime leader Dick Gayton retired.
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports that Turner’s biggest challenge is getting visitors back to Tupelo’s top attractions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Place of Birth saw more visitors this year than in the past two years.
“It really picked up on the 1st of April in steady increments, and then when the movie came out, it really rebounded,” he said.
The movie “Elvis” directed by Baz Luhrmann was a worldwide success. With international tourists typically making up 60 percent of birthplace visitors, the movie about the king of rock and roll couldn’t have come out at a better time.
Just last November, the visitor bus became the first international tour group at the site since January 2020.
“They come from all over the world,” Turner said.
He said about 20 people from Belgium visited their hometown on August 9, and spent most of the day there. The trip was expected to take about 35 bus trips in just over two weeks. Turner said those numbers are close to pre-COVID levels.
Before the epidemic, the place of birth received about 60 thousand visitors a year.
Presley died on August 16, 1977, at his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee – about 151 kilometers from his hometown. Turner said birthplace tourism usually increases “in those five-year increments” on the anniversary of death.
Turner said he was happy to see more visitors, including younger ones.
“We’ve seen a lot of young people showing interest in Elvis,” he said. “The other interesting thing is that there are more African American visitors as well, because the movie tells more about Elvis’ relationship with the African American community.”
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