Office of Tourism Update
May 31, 2017
Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser Celebrates Record-Breaking Tourism Numbers During
2017 National Travel & Tourism Week

Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser made several stops in parishes around Louisiana from May 8-11 to celebrate a fifth consecutive record-breaking year for tourism in Louisiana with the people who make such milestones possible. It was all part of the 34th annual National Travel and Tourism Week.

The week included awards luncheons, receptions and news conferences to create awareness about the tourism industry and its positive impact on Louisiana's economy.

Along the way, Lt. Governor Nungesser emphasized the tourism industry and the record-setting economic impact it has on Louisiana’s economy – generating $1.04 billion in tax revenue for the state, representing a 40-to-1 return on investment of state funding.

View Pictures from 2017 National Tourism Week
Audubon Golf Trail Welcomes Writers from Around the World
The Louisiana Office of Tourism hosted 8 golf travel writers from the US, Canada, Germany and the UK April 23–28. The writers teed it up at Audubon Golf Trail courses throughout Louisiana, including: The Golf Club at Audubon Park, TPC of Louisiana, Santa Maria Golf Course, Copper Mill, Carter Plantation, Tamahka Trails Golf Course and Black Bear.

The writers also experienced Louisiana restaurants and attractions throughout the trip including Big Mike’s in Denham Springs which, like much of the city, took on as much as 5 feet of water during the August 2016 flood. Big Mike talked with the writers about the August flood and the tireless resolve of the people of south Louisiana to quickly bounce back from the devastation.

Lieutenant Governor Nungesser Helps Welcome Fans to Bayou Country Superfest 2017 in New Orleans
Country music fans made their way to New Orleans this Memorial Day weekend for the 8th annual Bayou Country Superfest. Renovations to Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge moved the concert weekend to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome this year. The event, which featured a free Friday night show at Champions Square along with two nights of performances inside the dome, drew approximately 60,000 fans for all three days.

Saturday's show kicked into high gear with performances from Rascal Flatts, Brooks & Dunn, and Miranda Lambert. On Sunday, music fans were treated to Old Dominion, Hank Williams, Jr., Thomas Rhett, and Blake Shelton.

Sponsors of the 2017 Bayou Country Superfest included: the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism; New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation; New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau; and Bud Light, the official beer sponsor of Bayou Country Superfest.
Lt. Gov. Nungesser Announces Chefs Competing in the 10th Annual Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off
Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board have announced  the 12 chefs from across the state chosen to participate in the 10th annual Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off, which will be held Tuesday, June 20 at the Cajundome Convention Center in Lafayette.

In addition to earning the title of King or Queen of Louisiana Seafood, the winner will represent the state at a variety of events including the Great American Seafood Cook-Off taking place in New Orleans this August, which is also hosted by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board.
The competing chefs are:

Ben Fidelak, Executive Chef/Owner, The Levee

Ryan Andre', Executive Chef, City Pork Brasserie and Bar

Dustie Latiolais, Executive Chef, Crawfish Town USA


Ernest Prejean, Prejean's Restaurant
Brad Tanner, Chef de Cuisine, Café Vermilionville

Lyle Broussard, Chef de Cuisine, Jack Daniel's Bar & Grill

Chris McKnight, Chef/Owner, The Fat Pelican

Eric Cook, Executive Chef, Bourbon House
Austin Kirzner, Executive Chef, Red Fish Grill
Nathan Richard, Executive Chef, Cavan

Anthony Felan, Executive Chef, Wine Country Bistro

Bonnie Breaux, Executive Chef, The St. John Restaurant

Follow @LaSeafoodBoard on Instagram and Twitter and keep up will all Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off (LASCO) events via the official hashtag, #LASCO17.
Lt. Gov. Nungesser and Louisiana Office of Tourism Launch Equestrian Tourism Initiative
The 4th Annual Louisiana Quarter Horse Association Crawfish Classic Series served as the backdrop for Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser's announcement of a new initiative intended to increase Equestrian Tourism in the state. Already a top ten agriculture business in Louisiana, the initiative aims to build equestrian tourism to fill hotel rooms, campgrounds, RV parks and bed and breakfast lodging to benefit communities.

Statistically Louisiana ranks as a top producing horse economy. A competitive advantage is that the cost of doing business, real estate and goods is not as expensive as other horse producing states. Louisiana has an abundance of open trails in State Parks with the potential for more in the private sector. There are many athletes and horses that are or have been equestrian superstars. 

“We recognize that people and their horses are a part of Louisiana competitive and pleasure sports,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. The total value of all animal enterprises in the Louisiana economy is estimated at $3.28 billion. In addition to the value of horses produced and maintained in Louisiana, the activities of the horse industry generate a tremendous cash flow for the state. 

President Trump Budget Proposes Elimination of Brand USA Budget
The budget presented to Congress by the Trump Administration last week would eliminate Brand USA, a federally funded organization that promotes the country overseas as a tourist destination.

Roger Dow, CEO of the U.S. Travel Association calls the measure short sided and would have obvious implications to the travel industry. He released the following letter on the proposed budget cut.

A Plan to Protect and Defend Brand USA

First, we are actively communicating Brand USA's tremendous benefits to the Trump administration, Members of Congress and to the media. You can find our press statement here . Last year alone, Brand USA added $8.9 billion to the U.S. economy, supported nearly 60,000 American jobs, generated over $1 billion in tax revenue and reduced America's trade imbalance by boosting travel exports.

Second, we are engaged with our champions in Congress to ensure continued, bipartisan support for Brand USA. The president's budget proposal is non-binding, so any attempt to eliminate funding for Brand USA must be approved by Congress.

Third, we are reaching out to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney—both of whom have expressed previous support for Brand USA—to alert them to the negative impact this plan will have on the administration's economic goals. By potentially reducing international travel to the U.S., abolishing Brand USA will also reduce travel exports and worsen America's trade deficit.

We will provide an update to the industry in this week's Friday Check-In video and will equip U.S. Travel members with resources they need to support Brand USA.

Roger J. Dow

President and CEO
U.S. Travel Association

View Roger Dow’s full remarks on President Trump’s FY18 budget proposal
Gearing Up for IPW 2017 in Washington, DC

The Louisiana Office of Tourism, along with partners around the state, are gearing up for IPW 2017 in Washington, DC – the travel industry's premier international marketplace and the largest generator of travel to the U.S. – it is NOT a typical trade show. In just three days of intensive pre-scheduled business appointments, more than 1,000 U.S. travel organizations from every region of the USA (representing all industry category components), and more than 1,300 international and domestic buyers from more than 70 countries conduct business negotiations that result in the generation of more than $4.7 billion in future Visit USA travel.

Last year, Louisiana hosted the largest IPW gathering to date and plans to capitalize on that momentum this year.

The Louisiana Bass Trail presents the 3rd Annual Best of Louisiana Outdoors Event. Cast Your Vote Today!

Now until Wednesday, June 10, outdoors enthusiasts across the region are supporting their trusted businesses and favorite brands as they cast votes in the Third Annual Best of Louisiana Outdoors, an online event where the best of Sportsman’s Paradise are discovered and celebrated.

There are more than 100 categories needing your vote – including Boating, Guides, Best Bait & Tackle, Service and Retail, Lagniappe, and the new Outdoors Arts & Media category featuring ballots for best Outdoors Photography and Video. Vote in one category, or vote in all of them at http://bestoflaoutdoors.com/.

While homegrown businesses identified in the survey gain exposure across the state and beyond, visitors from around the country can – and do – use the survey as a tool to explore the state’s bounty of outdoor attractions and to discover the products, professionals, suppliers and resources that give Louisiana its reputation as a world-class destination for fishing and outdoors experiences.

The Third Annual Best of Louisiana Outdoors is presented by the Louisiana Bass Trail with support by St. Tammany Parish Tourist Commission, Plaquemines Parish Tourism Commission, CVB’s of Monroe-West Monroe and Jefferson Parishes, Toledo Bend Lake Country, and St. Bernard Office of Tourism.

Americans Take More Paid Vacation Days
A study by Project: Time Off reports Americans saw a 0.7 day increase in paid vacation days from a year before. Given more vacation time, American workers took more than an extra half-day off according to the study. “Half a day is a big deal,” said Katie Denis, the senior director at Project: Time Off. The survey of 7,331 workers found Americans on average took 16.8 days off, up almost one full day from 2013.

Read the Bloomberg article
Millennials Money – Should I Save Or Should I Go?

A recent study released by Bank of America Merrill Edge says 81% of millennials were more likely to spend money on travel than saving for their financial future. “We’re seeing millennials save to live their desired lifestyle, not for an exit strategy to leave the workforce,” wrote Aron Levine, the head of Merrill Edge. That data is in contrast to the Boomer and Gen-Xers: the majority of both generations said they save up in hopes of finally retiring.

Read the full online Fortune magazine article

Time is Running Out – Vote for The Best Attraction in Louisiana

Louisiana is a unique blend of cultures, traditions and ways of life; and, this melting pot of cultural influences creates a one-of-a-kind travel experience. From historic byways to French-inspired architecture, Louisiana has found a deep appreciation and love for its rich history, zesty zydeco and jazz music and spicy flavors that dominate southern cuisine. USA Today has nominated some of the best Louisiana attractions that people visit most often; and, here are the current top 10 attractions on the leaderboard: Houmas House Plantation, Oak Alley Plantation, Steamboat Natchez and the Mississippi River, Honey Island Swamp, Abita Mystery House, the National WWII Museum, Mardi Gras World, Vermilionville Living History Museum, City Park, Royal Street. To vote for your favorite attraction in Louisiana, head to USA Today Readers’ Choice 2017.

National Recognition for Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard in New Orleans

The Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard Merchants and Business Association won a national award from the National Main Street Center, Inc, a leading non-profit dedicated to commercial district revitalization.

Located in New Orleans, the Association received one of three 2017 Great American Main Street Awards for its implementation of the Main Street Four Point Approach for historical district revitalization and historical preservation.

Recently, a $1.9 million investment in a streetscape project was completed and has additionally improved the area.

Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard is one of 34 Main Street organizations in Louisiana. 

Upcoming Meetings & Events
  • 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 22-24: Lt. Governor's Tourism Summit, New Orleans
  • August 26-29: ESTO, Minneapolis, MN
  • September 13-15:Garden & Gun Cast and Blast, Grosse Savanne
  • September 19: LTPA Board Meeting, Covington
    September 19-21: US/China Leadership Summit, Atlanta, GA
  • Sept. 25-Oct. 3: Lieutenant Governor's Mission to Germany & United Kingdom
  • November 5-8: Louisiana Culinary Trails Media Mission, New York, NY
  • 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 Parks - Maintenance Repairer 1-2
  • Office of State Parks - Mechanic 1-2
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