Louisiana  Pick Your Passion! Travel Pulse Office of Tourism Update
March 16, 2015
Edmiston appointed to U.S. Travel Association's Executive Committee

Kyle Edmiston
Office of Tourism chief Kyle Edmiston has been appointed to the Executive Committee of the 2015 U.S. Travel Association Board of Directors by chairman Todd Davison, CEO of Travel Oregon. Edmiston is the first Louisiana Office of Tourism Assistant Secretary to serve on the committee. "I am excited be a voice for Louisiana on the committee," Edmiston said. "The U.S. and Louisiana can benefit greatly from the Association's promotion through Brand USA, its efforts to grow the travel industry domestically and internationally and its tremendous advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill in Washington." The U.S. Travel Association board is charged with making organization decisions, addressing industry-wide issues, approving the organization's budget and serving as a liaison and voice for U.S. Travel Association members. U.S. Travel Association collectively supports the U.S. travel industry. Its mission is to increase travel to and within the U.S., advise on issues that affect the U.S. travel industry and promote inbound travel to the U.S.

Louisiana Historical Marker   Louisiana Historical Marker program
The Louisiana Office of Tourism is accepting applications for the Louisiana Historical Marker program, which commemorates facts, people, events and places prominently identified with the history of the nation, state or region. Historical markers are privately sponsored and funded. Any individual or group may nominate a location or occasion of historical interest for historical marker commemoration. The applications must be postmarked by May 20. If you have questions, contact Lynne Coxwell lcoxwell@crt.la.gov or call 225.342.2876.

Louisiana:  A Lullaby to Life   Video on Louisiana music available for public
A new video scripted and emceed by Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne on the history and evolution of Louisiana music is now available for the public. The 17-minute video Louisiana: A Lullaby to Life discusses genres including jazz, Cajun, zydeco, country and R&B. It can be used in presentations and by local museums, visitor centers and fairs and festivals at no cost. View the video here. To get a copy e-mail LeAnne Weill lweill@crt.la.gov specifying the preferred format.

Timothy Bush, executive director, Bayou Lafourche Area CVB
Timothy Bush, executive director, Bayou Lafourche Area CVB
  Timothy Bush named executive director of the Bayou Lafourche Area CVB

The Bayou Lafourche Area CVB announced that Timothy Bush has been hired as the executive director. Bush, a graduate of University of Louisiana at Monroe, is the marketing manager at the Macon-Bibb County CVB in Georgia and has previously worked at DMOs in Ruston and Beauregard. Bush will start as executive director on March 23.

Kristian Sonnier, vice president of communications and public relations, New Orleans CVB
Kristian Sonnier, vice president of communications and public relations, New Orleans CVB
  Kristian Sonnier named vice president of communications and public relations of the New Orleans CVB

The New Orleans CVB named Kristian Sonnier, a 20-year public relations and communications veteran, the vice president of communications and public relations of the NOCVB.

Cruise Industry   2015 shaping to be great year for state cruise industry
This year is shaping to be a banner one for Louisiana's cruise industry. Viking River Cruises announced plans to base its North American luxury inland river cruise operation in New Orleans, and Carnival announced it would bump potential capacity for its New Orleans-based operation by one-third by replacing the Carnival Elation ship with the larger Carnival Triumph. Meanwhile, Baton Rouge is predicting a record year for cruising due to 84 forecasted dockings by the American Cruise Lines fleet, while St. Francisville is preparing for more tourist traffic due to Viking's planned day excursions there.

Whitney Plantation, Wallace
  Whitney Plantation profiled in The New York Times
The newly-opened Whitney Plantation was the subject of an extensive feature in The New York Times earlier this month. Entitled Building the First Slavery Museum in America, the article focused on the plantation's mission to interpret the lives of the enslaved who lived on the plantation in Wallace and in the region as well as interpret plantation owner John Cummings' mission and rationale. The property opened to travelers in December.

Contraband Days, Lake Charles
  USA Today: Contraband Days a top North American pirate festival
Lake Charles' Contraband Days has been named a top North American pirate festival by USA Today. Author Sarah Sekula cited pirate festivities, food, music, dancing and water-related activities as key draws for the two-week event. This year's festival runs April 28 - May 10. Other top pirate festivals listed were in Tampa Bay and Fort Myers, Florida; Beaufort, North Carolina; Hampton, Virginia; and the Cayman Islands.

Omelette Festival, Abbeville
  Omelette Festival named one of "strangest" U.S. food festivals
USA Today named Abbeville's Giant Omelette Celebration in a list of America's Strangest Food Festivals. The annual November event commemorates when Napoleon allegedly ordered a huge omelette for his army using all of a town's eggs. Louisiana's celebration requires more than 5,000 eggs and a 12-foot diameter skillet.

Culinary Travel   Essays attest to growing popularity of culinary travel
Travel Weekly editors and writers recently penned a collection of essays attesting to the growing popularity of culinary travel among Americans. The entries describe personal observations regarding the growing demand for destinations' authentic food and drink and the subsequent changes in the ways hotels, tour operators, cruise lines and travel agents do business as a result.

Visit California web site   California to double its tourism marketing budget
Visit California, the state's top tourism promotion agency, will double its marketing budget in the coming months from $50 million to at least $100 million annually, thanks to an increase in the assessments levied on hotels, restaurants, rental cars, attractions and other tourism related services in what's known as the Dream Big Dividend.

Chinese tourists   Number of Chinese tourists to increase by 172 percent by 2019
The U.S. Department of Commerce projects visitor growth from China will increase by 172 percent to 3.1 million visitors by 2019, catapulting it ahead of Germany, Brazil, Japan and the U.K.

International visitors   International travelers to the U.S. spent a record $222 billion in 2014
Spending by international visitors to the U.S. increased 4 percent last year, compared to 2013. Travelers from abroad spent $222 billion to fly into and stay in the country, according to an estimate recently released by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

  Travel industry sees strong Facebook CTRs, engagement
Among industry impressions tracked on Facebook, travel emerged as the leader in average click through rates, which rose a whopping 557.5% year over year.

Upcoming Meetings & Events   Upcoming meetings & events

If you have comments or suggestions for future issues of Louisiana Travel Pulse, contact Jay Tusa at jtusa@crt.la.gov or 225.342.8142.

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