In 1949, under Governor Fielding Wright and the Mississippi Legislature, the Mississippi Miss Hospitality Competition began. The purpose of the program continues to be to identify a young and knowledgeable lady to help promote the state in tourism and economic development.
In 1986, the legislature voted to discontinue the program, at which time the Starkville Area Chamber of Commerce asked for and received sponsorship of the program. The competition was incorporated in 1987 and remained in Starkville for ten years. In 1997, the Starkville Board of Directors began searching for another city to serve as the State program’s new location when Hattiesburg petitioned for and received the sponsorship in December 1997.
The program is currently presented by VisitHATTIESBURG, the City of Hattiesburg, Mississippi Development Authority, Forrest General Hospital, The University of Southern Mississippi, and the Historic Saenger Theater.
During state competition week, contestants are provided with opportunities to polish their public speaking and interview skills as well as their poise and interpersonal relations among fellow contestants, judges, and competition officials.
Mississippi Miss Hospitality represents the state through organized appearances and events during her reign, sharing Mississippi’s story and hospitality with all she comes in contact with.
The mission of the Mississippi Miss Hospitality Competition is to identify a young woman between the ages of 18 and 24 to become the goodwill ambassador for economic development and tourism in the state, promoting Mississippi statewide, regionally, and on a national level.