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Barbour to highlight cultural tourism as head of governors’ group

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour says he’ll concentrate on cultural and heritage tourism during his year as leader of the Southern Governors’ Association.

He was named chairman of the nonpartisan group during SGA’s recent annual meeting in New Orleans.

“Southern states have a unique opportunity to develop even greater strengths in the important area of cultural and heritage tourism,” Barbour said in a news release. “Southerners have always felt a special affection for what we call a sense of place and our culture and heritage are important parts of it. I am especially interested in developing civil rights and blues music attractions that help tell the South’s important story to tourists from all over the world.”

Barbour, a Republican, was elected Mississippi governor in 2003 and is expected to seek another four-year term in 2007.

SGA’s next annual meeting will take place in Biloxi.

Mississippi’s tourism marketing highlights the state as “The Birthplace of America’s Music” and the state has produced many of the world’s most renowned musical artists, including B.B. King, Elvis Presley and Jimmie Rodgers.