Office of Tourism Update
May 25, 2018
Louisiana Feeds Souls During IPW 2018 in Denver
More than 6,300 travel professionals from around the world attended the U.S Travel Association’s 50th annual IPW in Denver, CO, this week. Assistant Secretary of Tourism Doug Bourgeois led Louisiana’s contingent to promote the state as a place where you can Feed Your Soul.

IPW brings travel professionals from every corner of the country to meet with the international tourism businesses and wholesalers that send travelers to the U.S. IPW shows the world that America is open for business. More than 100,000 business appointments were held, which will drive more than $4.7 billion in future travel to the United States. The Louisiana Office of Tourism joined other in-state travel experts from numerous Convention & Visitor Bureaus, hotels and attractions to cultivate opportunities with the world’s top international tour operators.

Media attendance grew once again in 2018 as nearly 550 domestic and international journalists met with destinations, travel businesses, and other suppliers to generate stories encouraging international travel to the U.S. The Louisiana Office of Tourism staff met with more than 50 travel journalists from all over the world including China, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Canada, and the UK.

Capitalizing on recent momentum, the New Orleans CVB hosted a packed house for a news conference announcing their rebranding to New Orleans and Co., while updating media on the exciting attractions and expansions opening in the near future.

Next year, IPW 2019 will be held in Anaheim, CA, from June 1-5.

Lieutenant Governor Nungesser Celebrates Six Consecutive Years of Record-Breaking Tourism Numbers in Louisiana
From May 7 – 11, Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser made stops in parishes across Louisiana celebrating the impact tourism has on our state and our economy as part of the 35th annual National Travel and Tourism Week. Lt. Governor Nungesser announced a sixth consecutive year of record-breaking visitation as Louisiana welcomed 47.1 million visitor in 2017, an increase of nearly 500,000 from 2016. Those visitors spent $17.5 billion, or an average of $371 per person. The travel and tourism industry generated $1.8 billion in state and local sales tax revenue, an increase of 4.5 percent over the $1.7 billion in state and local tax revenue generated in 2016. This revenue represents a 37-to-1 return on investment of state funding. Tax revenue generated through travel and tourism spending saves each household in Louisiana $1,047 a year in taxes that would be needed to maintain current services.

There were a total of 12 stops during National Travel and Tourism Week to celebrate the impact of the industry. Those stops took place in Iberia, Terrebonne, East Baton Rouge, St. Tammany, Jefferson, West Feliciana, St. Landry, Rapides, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Caddo and Calcasieu parishes.

2018 is poised for another record year in tourism as Lieutenant Governor Nungesser unveiled a new brand for the state in January – Louisiana: Feed Your Soul – to convey to the world that no other state can offer the incredible bounty of food, music, history, and culture that Louisiana can.

Southeast Tourism Society Honors Louisiana Tourism Leaders
Louisiana received four honors from the Southeast Tourism Society (STS) during their annual conference held this year in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, that included Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser accepting the 2018 Governmental Tourism Leadership Award. The award is given to an elected official upon the nomination of one of the industry partners in his or her state. 

Since being sworn into office in January 2016, Lt. Governor Nungesser has continued to travel around every part of the state seeking input from industry leaders and stakeholders. He has also been instrumental in advocacy efforts at the local and state levels for tourism and promotion of our communities.

Other winners during the April 24 Shining Example Awards ceremonies included:

  • Beacon Award - Shelley Johnson, Executive Director and CEO of the Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau

  • Top 20 Festival of the Year – Natchitoches Christmas Festival
  • Tourism Office of the Year with a budget over $2 million – St. Tammany Parish Tourist & Convention Commission

Louisiana, with four winners, and West Virginia, with three winners, were the most acknowledged states.

Founded in 1983, the Southeast Tourism Society promotes and develops tourism in its 12 member states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. 
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser accepted the 2018 Governmental Tourism Leadership Award. Also, Louisiana's Northshore's President & CEO Donna O'Daniels accepted the Tourism Office of the Year award with staff members Christina Cooper, Zondra Jones, and Yolanda Paz and Tourism Commission members Sharon Lo Drucker and T.J. Smith.
Shelley Johnson, Executive Director & CEO of the Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau accepts the Beacon Award.
Natchitoches Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Arlene Gould and Natchitoches Christmas Coordinator Jill Leo, pictured with Lt. Governor Nungesser, accepted the Top 20 Festival of the Year award.  
Shreveport Hosts Miss USA And Miss Teen USA Pageants 
Northwest Louisiana took center stage as the Miss USA Pageant and Miss Teen USA pageant were held in Shreveport at the Hirsch Coliseum. The Miss Teen USA pageant took place Friday, May 18, and aired nationwide on the Reelz Network. The Miss USA Pageant was aired live on the FOX network from George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum on Monday, May 21 and was hosted by former Miss Teen USA (1998) Vanessa Lachey and her husband, recording artist Nick Lachey.

Organizers estimate the event will have an economic impact of more than $5 million in the Shreveport-Bossier area. Events prior to the pageants included a mini “Mardi Gras” in downtown Shreveport the Monday before as well as the “Taste of Shreveport/Bossier” held the Tuesday before which was sponsored in part by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board.  Shreveport hosted the Miss USA Pageant in 1997 and 1998. The city also hosted the Miss Teen USA pageant in 1998, 1999 and 2000.
Entries Sought for Third-Quarter Events Calendar
The Office of Tourism is producing its third-quarter calendar of events, for events happening July through September 2018. To include an event in the printed calendar, submit event information to the online calendar via the submit event link at the bottom of LouisianaTravel.com by 5 p.m. May 30. For additional information or assistance, please contact Lynne Coxwell at lcoxwell@crt.la.gov or 225-342-2876.
Baton Rouge Selected to Host 2019 U.S. Youth Soccer Southern Regional Championships
U.S. Youth Soccer announced the selection of Baton Rouge as the host city of the 2019 Southern Regional Championships. U.S. Youth Soccer is the country’s oldest and most prestigious national youth soccer tournament. Organizers say the event will bring an estimated $20 million of economic impact to Baton Rouge.

The Southern Regional Championships will attract more than 200 boys and girls teams, ages 13U through 19U, from the 12 Southern U.S. Youth Soccer State Associations that make up the U.S. Youth Soccer South Region (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Texas, Tennessee). Regional winners earn a berth to the 2019 U.S. Y outh Soccer National Championships. 

“All of us at Louisiana Soccer are thrilled to see U.S. Youth Soccer’s Southern Regionals return to Baton Rouge in 2019,” said Tucker Reynolds, Executive Director of Louisiana Soccer Association. “This event will bring some of the finest young athletes from across the South to Louisiana to compete for the chance to represent their state in the National Championship. The tournament will also give us a chance to prove, once again, that Baton Rouge is a host city second to none.”

Baton Rouge previously hosted the Southern Regional Championships in 2010 and 2014.
Thrillist Names New Orleans the #1 Best Place in the World for a Big Trip in 2018
As New Orleans celebrates a party 300 years in the making, the travel website Thrillist has named The Big Easy as the best place in the world to take a big trip in 2018. From the stacked lineup of festivals, to exhibits at the State Museum, to the bands playing jazz and rock every night throughout the French Quarter, New Orleans is in the midst of a yearlong Tricentennial Celebration.

According to Thrillist : “Every single festival this year will get a tricentennial upgrade. Mardi Gras floats will retell the founding story of Nouvelle-Orléans; Jazz Fest will have a lineup for the ages; and at no point should you skip the ongoing exhibition Prospect 4, a treasure map of murals and sculptures raising the city's up-and-coming arts profile beyond the blur of purple and green fleurs-de-lis. Even if you’ve come for beads and gumbo in years past, expect to see New Orleans from a new perspective. The Mississippi River is now dotted with riverside pocket parks, replacing the warehouses and railroad tracks that once blocked the view. The North Rampart Street cable car line has been extended to get visitors beyond the French Quarter into the Bywater district. Even Bourbon Street has gotten itself a $6 million facelift.

These Boots were made for... Taking Pictures
Houma’s got a new pair of shoes! Well, more like boots. The Houma Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is happy to introduce you to the #thebigboots! When passing on Highway 90 or 24 in Gray, it’s nearly impossible to miss the pair (which seemingly have been just kicked off by the door by its owner) which measure 7’10” in height by 3’ wide by 7’6” deep.

Since their arrival, numerous people had made the stop off of the highway to take their picture with these beauties, and that’s the idea. The Houma CVB wants to encourage everyone to take a ride over to 114 Tourist Dr. in Gray and get their picture with #thebigboots. You can also find the boots on Instagram @thebigbootsla. Be sure to tag them in your photo, the boots may just respond to you!

Be sure to share your photos on social media using #thebigboots and #bayoucountry.
Upcoming Meetings & Events

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.

  • Carpenter Master - Office of State Museums
  • Tourism Information Counselor 1-2 - Office of Tourism

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