You are here

Excellence in Tourism Leadership Program


The Mississippi State University Extension Center for Government and Community Development seeks to build the capacity of community leaders by providing customized certificates in Community Leadership and Tourism. Through robust education, MSU Extension fulfills communities’ need for effective leaders with unique skills to facilitate positive and lasting change in vibrant and growing communities.


Mississippi tourism stands at the threshold of unprecedented growth, but it will require leaders with vision and skill to make it happen. Certainly, a successful tourism program requires enthusiasm, but that’s not enough. A tourism professional needs to understand how the various pieces—economics, marketing, community relations, and government support—must all fit together to make a program work. In order to provide tourism professionals with the knowledge and skills they need, Mississippi State University is offering a multi-discipline program focusing on leadership in the tourism industry.

The MSU Extension Service’s Center for Government and Community Development is partnering with the Mississippi Tourism Association to provide this college level certificate program that will be led by highly qualified experts from the university and specially selected professionals currently active in the industry. Participants will learn about timely topics and programs that will help them grow and market tourism in their community. They will also gain invaluable perspectives and insights in the fields of leadership, advocacy, and public policy and administration.

The program will include both interactive and online learning. Some sessions will be held in conjunction with Mississippi Tourism Association seminars at various locations throughout the state. Participants will have an opportunity to see first-hand the tourism programs currently in place in a number of Mississippi communities. They will also have an unparalleled opportunity to establish that all-important network with fellow tourism professionals.

Two ladies standing at a table at the Tamale Festival

Program Objectives

  1. Build the leadership capacity in Mississippi.
  2. Promote community and economic development in Mississippi.
  3. Enhance and support local tourism in Mississippi.

Program Overview

Participants should have a desire to make positive and lasting change in their communities. After successful completion, participants should leave ready and motivated to make a positive and lasting impact locally.

The fiscal year of the program begins July 1st and ends June 30th. Applications are accepted July 1st through August 30th. There are two Certificate Levels (Associate and Master). Tuition for each certificate program is $700 and will take one year to complete. A series of courses and projects must be completed in order to obtain the certification. Total cost for both certificates will be $1,400.

The program fee will be due at the beginning of the program each year and should be mailed to:

Mississippi State University Extension, Center for Government and Community Development
P.O. Box 9643
Mississippi State, MS 39762

Program Delivery

Building relationships is an essential component to this program. Participants will be required to meet in person at certain times throughout the year. However, the program directors will maximize the use of distance education technology to conserve resources. In doing so, deliberate and diligent efforts will be made to promote an informing, engaging and interactive learning environment, regardless of the delivery method. Additionally, certain conference and events may be substituted for an elective.

Back to Top