Office of Tourism Update
April 11, 2017
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser Announces a
Fifth Straight Record Breaking Year for Louisiana Tourism

Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser announced 2016 as the fifth consecutive record-breaking year for tourism in Louisiana. The state welcomed a record high 46.7 million visitors in 2016, representing an increase of 2.57 percent over the 45.1 million visitors reported by DK Shifflet and Associates in 2015. Those visitors spent $16.8 billion, or an average of $360 per person. The travel and tourism industry generated $1.04 billion in state tax revenue, an increase of 23.4 percent over the $843 million generated in 2015. This revenue represents a 40-to-1 return on investment of state funding. Tax revenue generated through travel and tourism spending saves each household in Louisiana $601 a year in taxes that would be needed to maintain current revenues. Additionally, with more than 231,500 people employed in tourism related jobs, the industry continues to be one of the top five employers in Louisiana.

"This fifth record-setting year is more proof that we must continue to invest in tourism in Louisiana,” said Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser. “Simply put, the more people we attract to visit Louisiana, the more state tax revenue we can generate; however, that starts with continuing to invest in the efforts to promote Louisiana as a desirable tourism destination.”

The state also saw increased in the number of hotel rooms sold and passengers arriving and departing from Louisiana airports in 2016. A total of 21.7 million hotels rooms were sold in 2016, increasing from 21.4 in 2015 or 1.4 percent. And, more than 13.4 million passengers traveled into and out of the state, increasing 2 percent from 13.2 million in 2015. Likewise, more than 6.74 million passengers were enplaned at Louisiana airports, representing a 2.2 percent increase from 6.59 million in 2015.



British Airways Officially Begins Flying Between
New Orleans and London

The first official British Airways flight from London’s Heathrow Airport to Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans touched down just before 7 p.m. on Monday, March 27, marking the start of the new, nonstop service between the cities. At a news conference in front of local dignitaries, business leaders, and departing travelers, British Airways signaled its confidence in the service by announcing an increase from four to five days a week starting October 30, 2017.

The flight was met by Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser who said, “This first landing of a British Airways direct flight from London to New Orleans is a clear signal to travelers worldwide that New Orleans and Louisiana continue to be great travel destinations. While the number of British travelers to Louisiana has seen a steady increase, it is expected to increase even more with the addition of this direct, year-round service. Our goal is to utilize this and other partnerships to see the number of international visitors to our state continue to rise as we market Louisiana as an exciting destination for international visitors to experience and explore.”

The number of British travelers to Louisiana has seen a steady increase which is anticipated to grow further with the addition of this nonstop service to New Orleans. The United Kingdom is the second largest source of international visitors to Louisiana. A direct service to Louis Armstrong International Airport opens up possibilities, such as:

  • Increased touring within Louisiana through both fly-drive trips and escorted touring holidays;
  • Increased cruising out of the Port of New Orleans for the British cruise market;
  • Increased educational tourism by schools and universities;
  • Increased year-round visitation; and,
  • Increased incentives for businesses. 


Click image above to view video of the inaugural landing of British Airways at Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans on Monday, March 27, 2017.
Click the image above to view Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser's comments on the arrival of British Airways to Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans.
Click the image above to view the full news conference welcoming British Airways to Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans on Monday, March 27, 2017.
International Traveler Spending in the U.S. Sets a New Record

According to the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office, international travelers to the U.S. spent nearly $20.8 billion, an increase of 0.9 percent from January 2016, the strongest January on record for tourism spending. The average international traveler spend about $672 per day.

The National Travel & Tourism Office measures international visitor spending in U.S. dollars and spending totals for some markets could be higher depending on currency conversions. Travelers could also be shifting spending to other expenses, such as retail, that isn’t included in the data.


Louisiana Office of Tourism Welcomes New Public Information Officer – Charlie Whinham

Emmy award winning television producer and broadcaster Charlie Whinham is the newest member of the Louisiana Office of Tourism Communications Team. Whinham joined LOT in March. Whinham comes from Louisiana Public Broadcasting after nearly fifteen years working for the statewide public television network as host and producer of LPB’s weekly news program “Louisiana: The State We’re In”. He has also produced more than twenty documentaries highlighting the state’s history, culture, iconic figures and locations.

The Suncoast Chapter of the National Television Arts and Sciences recognized Whinham in 2016 with an Emmy on his story about the 25th Anniversary of the movie Steel Magnolias filmed mostly in Natchitoches. In 2010, his documentary Lost Louisiana: Places of Worship also earned an Emmy.

He is married to Kris Kimball, who works across the country as a Tour Guide for several national travel/tourism companies.

Increasing Your Social Media Reach Could Be A Snap!

Travel research and marketing clients are seeing a rapid rise in the use of Snapchat, not just in the youth sector. The firm MoffettNathanson has found the fastest growing group of Snapchat users is people over 35, particularly women over 35. Their numbers show 19.5 million unique users in the last quarter of 2016, up 320 percent from the previous year’s 4.6 million.


Showcase Your Organization’s Rising Stars in DMAI’s 30 Under 30

DMAI doesn't just support CEOs and senior leadership. Give rising stars in your organization the chance to engage in valuable professional development and networking opportunities, by applying for our renowned 30 Under 30 program.

Thirty individuals under the age of 30 will be awarded complimentary registration and 3 nights hotel accommodation for DMAI’s 2017 Annual Convention
and engage in year-round professional development. The application is simple, have your nominee tell us in a two-minute video what brought them into the DMO community and how the program could help them achieve their professional goals!

To apply by Friday, April 14, please click here.
Here are 30 reasons why

Upcoming Meetings & Events
  • April 12: Louisiana Tourism Development Commission
  • April 13: LACVB Meeting, Baton Rouge, LA
  • April 24: Tourism Day, State Capitol
  • April 24-30: 2017 Zurich Classic, TPC Louisiana
  • May 8-12: National Tourism Week
  • June 3-7: 2017 IPW, Washington, DC
  • June 28: LTPA Board Meeting, Ruston
  • July 11-14: DMAI, Montreal Quebec
  • July 16-19: Lieutenant Governor's Mission to Canada
  • August 22-25: Lt. Governor's Tourism Summit, New Orleans
  • August 26-29: ESTO, Minneapolis, MN
  • September 19: LTPA Board Meeting, Covington
  • Sept. 26-Oct. 3: Lieutenant Governor's Mission to Germany & United Kingdom
  • November 9: LACVB Meeting, TBD
  • November 27-30: Travel South International Showcase, Charleston, SC
Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism - Employment Opportunities
The following positions with the Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism are posted on the Civil Service LA Careers website.
  • Office of State Museum - Museum Special Projects Coordinator
  • Office of State Parks - Mechanic 1-2
  • Office of State Parks - Budget Analyst 1-3
  • Office of Management & Finance, Fiscal Division - Accountant 1-3
For more information, please visit  http://www.crt.state.la.us/employment-opportunities/index
If you have comments or suggestions for future issues of Louisiana Travel Pulse, contact Barry Landry at blandry@crt.la.gov or Charlie Whinham at cwhinham@crt.la.gov