Elvis death anniversary increases tourism at his birthplace in Tupelo

FILE - A historical marker is pictured on Dec. 10, 2009, that denotes the childhood home of...
FILE - A historical marker is pictured on Dec. 10, 2009, that denotes the childhood home of Elvis Presley in Tupelo, Miss., where fans can catch a glimpse of the rocker's early years. In August 2022, the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum was seeing an uptick in tourism because of the 45th anniversary of Presley's death. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)(Rogelio V. Solis | AP)
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 3:35 PM CDT
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TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — The Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum in Tupelo, Mississippi, has welcomed an increasing number of visitors as fans commemorate the 45th anniversary of Presley’s death and a new movie reawakens international interest in the singer.

Roy Turner was named executive director of the Birthplace last fall after longtime leader Dick Guyton retired.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported Turner’s biggest challenge is getting visitors to return to Tupelo’s top attraction amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Birthplace has seen more visitors this year than in the past two.

“It really picked up the first of April with steady increases, and then when the film came out it really picked up,” he said.

The Baz Luhrmann-directed “Elvis” movie has been a global hit. With international tourists typically making up 60% of Birthplace visitors, the movie about the king of rock ‘n’ roll couldn’t have been released at a better time.

Fans make a pilgrimage every year to Memphis, Tennessee, to attend events during “Elvis Week,” the annual celebration of his life and career in the days surrounding his death anniversary. The highlight is a candlelight vigil at Presley’s white-columned Graceland mansion, where he died on Aug. 16, 1977.

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