BATON ROUGE, La. – Nearly 25 Convention and Visitors Bureaus and attractions in Louisiana joined the Louisiana Office of Tourism (LOT) in promoting the state to international tour operators during the 2016 Travel South USA International Showcase on November 29-30 in Atlanta. Delegates had the opportunity to showcase their area to more than 100 International and U.S. Receptive Tour Operators. The Travel South USA International Showcase primarily focuses on international travelers interested in visiting the Southeastern United States.
“With the recent announcements of direct flights to New Orleans from London, Germany, and Honduras, we are in an advantageous position to see another significant increase in the number of international visitors to Louisiana over the next several years,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “The goal is to utilize our partnerships to see this number continue to rise as we continue to market Louisiana as an exciting destination for international visitors to experience and explore. The reason – international visitors stay longer and on average spend more money.”
“The partnerships the state has with our CVBs and Tourism Commissions are crucial,” said Kyle Edmiston, Assistant Secretary for the Louisiana Office of Tourism. “There are 16 such organizations that partner with the state at the international level. They are just as focused on the goal and purpose of increasing international visitation to our state. Those partnerships are showing tremendous success.”
From 2014 to 2015, international visitors to Louisiana increased by 36 percent, representing 137,000 more overseas travelers, and ranking Louisiana second in the nation for overall state growth. Comparatively, the increase in international visitors was three percent nationwide. Similarly, New Orleans saw increased growth during the same period, increasing 37 percent, the largest increase in the nation for any city. The statistics are part of a report by the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Travel & Tourism Office (NTTO), a section within the International Trade Administration. 2016 numbers will be made available when the current reporting year concludes and the data is compiled and analyzed.
The quality of the Travel South USA International Showcase is evident and since the show’s inception, the Louisiana Office of Tourism and the New Orleans CVB have been annual sponsors. This year’s Showcase was an opportunity to capitalize on the success of the U.S. Travel Association IPW 2016 held in New Orleans this past summer. Many international tour operators not attending IPW attended the International Showcase. The showcase allows states and destinations one-on-one opportunities to better promote their regions to both International Buyers and U.S. Receptive Tour Operators. Over the next three years, projections indicate an additional 8.8 million international visitors coming to the U.S., spending $28 million. By 2018, Louisiana stands to see an increase of 1 million international visitors and a direct economic impact of an estimated $1.7 billion.
Recently, the LOT showcased the state for a 25th consecutive year during the World Travel Market (WTM) London and participated in a sales mission to China. Additionally, LOT is gearing up for the U.S. Travel Association IPW 2017 in Washington, DC, in June 2017.