Supporting Global Development through Sustainable Tourism

NGS Mississippi River

Mississippi River Geotourism Project


  • Client: Mississippi River Connections Collaborative (MRCC)
  • Partners: National Geographic Society Maps Division
  • Project Duration: November 2014 – April 2016

Project Overview

The Mississippi River and its tributaries constitute the largest river system in North America, with a meandering route from its northern headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico. The river has served as the backbone of the United States’ historical and economic development for over 200 years, and represents a veritable cross-section of the ecological, geographic, and cultural diversity of the country. While ways of life, scenery, and ecosystems may vary greatly over its course, individuals and organizations nationwide with ties to the Mississippi agree that they are all connected to its water and that they must work together to protect its natural and cultural assets and promote its economic vitality. Geotourism is a way of supporting this effort.


Major Activities

  • Creating and fostering of a Mississippi River Corridor Sustainable Tourism Council (and regional councils) – To manage the program, National Geographic Society and the Council will provide oversight and support for stakeholder engagement about sustainable tourism/ geotourism in the region.
  • Create a Destination Marketing and Branding Strategy – Centered on sustainable tourism, nature, recreation, history, arts, cultural heritage, agriculture, and urban and town life along the river.
  • Develop a geo-referenced Smartphone Application (APP) to reach the rapidly expanding mobile market with a state of the art managed App platform.
  • Publish a Hard Copy Geotourism MapGuide(s) - data to create a map will derive from the creation of the website. The Geotourism MapGuide will be a content rich interpretive guide to the region that compliments the website. The map will be designed as a Geotourism MapGuide that can be distributed as a free of charge compliment to inspire visitors to the region.
  • The creation and implementation of a comprehensive public relations strategy, including the design and creation of an informational brochure describing the significance of the project in the context of the mission of the MRCC and affiliates.


Anticipated Results

  • Establishment of the Mississippi River Corridor Geotourism Stewardship Council, including guidelines and consultation during the project. The GSC is envisioned as a regional body of stakeholders representing governments, civil society, microenterprises, entrepreneurs, and individual community members representing the different aspects of the destination (natural, cultural, scenic, etc.)
  • Design and publish an online Geotourism MapGuide website to empower local stakeholders and promote regional tourism assets.
  • Connect major Mississippi Corridor attractions and destinations with additional inland travel opportunities.
  • Celebrate the Mississippi River Corridor as a clean, safe, and unique world-class destination.

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