Louisiana  Pick Your Passion! Travel Pulse Office of Tourism Update
August 28, 2015
Lt. Gov. Dardenne delivers last state of tourism address at summit

More than 550 of the state's tourism industry leaders, distinguished speakers and sponsors attended the Lt. Governor's Tourism Summit last week at Baton Rouge's Crowne Plaza. Activity highlights during the three-day conference include Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne's final state of Louisiana tourism address; LOT chief Kyle Edmiston's update; a debate among lieutenant governor candidates; eight breakout sessions on industry-specific topics; a private reception with Lt. Governor Dardenne at Houmas House Plantation; a dine-around evening event including several notable Baton Rouge restaurants; and five familiarization tours exploring the greater Baton Rouge area.

Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne with presenting partners and representatives from the Louisiana tourism industry.
Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne with presenting partners and representatives from the Louisiana tourism industry.

Pictured from left to right: state Senator Elbert Guillory, Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden, former Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser and Jefferson Parish President John Young.
Pictured from left to right: state Senator Elbert Guillory, Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden, former Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser and Jefferson Parish President John Young.
  Lt. governor candidates focus on tourism funding in first debate
All four declared candidates for Louisiana's soon-to-be-vacant lieutenant governor's seat will push to restore cuts to the state tourism promotion budget should they get the job. That was the collective message of republicans John Young, Billy Nungesser and Elbert Guillory and democrat Kip Holden at the tourism industry summit in Baton Rouge. Candidates have differing ideas, however, on building upon recent record-setting Louisiana tourism numbers, and their ideas range from state parks and historic sites upgrades to increased focus on tourism influencers such as crime in urban areas and the quality of roads.

  Lt. Governor's Canadian mission
The Louisiana Office of Tourism will conduct a sales mission April 25 - 29, to the largest feeder markets in Canada-Ontario and British Columbia. Both DMO partners and private industry partners are invited to join the mission for a $300 participation fee. The newly elected lieutenant governor is expected to lead the delegation. LOT will host a VIP tour operator and media luncheon, plus a travel agent tabletop reception and dinner in Toronto April 26. LOT will host two similar functions in Vancouver April 28. For additional details and estimated travel expenses, contact Mike Prejean at mprejean@crt.la.gov or 225.342.4354.

Brennan's Restaurant
Brennan's Restaurant
  10 Years After Katrina, New Orleans' Tourism Industry Reborn
Ten years after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the city's tourism has not only rebounded, it's practically been reinvented. New Orleans had just 3.7 million visitors in 2006, the first full year after Katrina. Last year, there were 9.5 million visitors. The city has 600 more restaurants and hotel occupancy rates are higher than they were before the levees broke Aug. 29, 2005, flooding 80 percent of the city.

Fontainebleau State Park cabins   Fontainebleau SP cabins reopen following renovations
The popular overnight cabins at Fontainebleau State Park near Mandeville have reopened following a $1.5 million renovation. The 12 units, which sat unoccupied after Hurricane Isaac damage in 2012 due to funding woes, are now taking reservations via www.ReserveLaStateParks.com. They were among the Office of State Parks' highest revenue generators prior to Isaac and saw 3,500 booked nights in the year prior to the storm.

Hodges Gardens
Hodges Gardens
  Hodges Gardens earns national historic designation
Hodges Gardens State Park is now on the National Register of Historic Places. The abandoned stone quarry turned botanical garden and then Louisiana State Park features more than 700 acres of natural and cultivated flora; water activities on a 225-acre lake; and campsites connected by hiking and horse trails.

STS Top 20   STS Top 20 Events for April - June
Southeast Tourism Society chooses the Top 20 Events for each month and publishes its list of winners quarterly. Nominations are accepted from STS members and non-member organizations. STS strongly encourages entrants to support their nominations by providing supporting material such as photos, posters, brochures, news releases, news clippings and volunteer programs. Each nominated event must have an attendance of at least 1,000 people and be in its third year of existence. There is a $20 entry fee per event. The deadline to nominate events that occur in April, May or June 2016 is Friday, Oct. 2.

Marcus Creel, communications manager, Bayou Lafourche Area CVB
Marcus Creel, communications manager, Bayou Lafourche Area CVB

Willma Harvey, tourism sales manager, Bayou Lafourche Area CVB
Willma Harvey, tourism sales manager, Bayou Lafourche Area CVB

  Bayou Lafourche Area CVB welcomes two new staff members
The Bayou Lafourche Area CVB announces the recent additions of Marcus Creel as Communications Manager and Willma Harvey as Tourism Sales Manager.

Creel has nine years of experience in the communication industry, including work as a brand strategist. Creel has also worked as a program director and on-air personality for multiple radio stations. As communications manager, Creel will be responsible for positioning Bayou Lafourche as a regional, national and international destination through the use of marketing, advertising and public relations.

Harvey has more than 15 years of experience in the tourism industry. She previously worked as convention services manager and manager for tourism marketing at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitor Bureau. Harvey also worked as ecotourism sales manager and senior sales manager at the Corpus Christi Convention and Visitor Bureau. As tourism sales manager, Harvey will work to bring more groups and leisure travel to Lafourche Parish.


10 Best   Three Louisiana cities earn 10Best food-related honors
New Orleans, Lafayette and Avery Island are among honorees in the newest round of USA Today "10Best" food-related honors. TABASCO finished second place nationally for Best Food Factory Tour; Lafayette's Cajun Boudin Trail finished third for Best Food Trail; and New Orleans finished eighth for Best Local Food Scene. 10Best honors are voted upon by the outlet's readers.

1868 Restaurant1868 Restaurant, Avery Island   TABASCO pepper sauce complex now includes restaurant
Visitors to the TABASCO factory at Avery Island can sample the pepper sauce in Louisiana dishes at its new on-site restaurant, 1868. It is named for the year the world-acclaimed sauce was created. The menu features Cajun fare, with plans to integrate TABASCO into world cuisine to cater to foreign visitors.

  Report shows the tourism industry's impact on U.S. jobs
The U.S. tourism industry directly supported 5.3 million jobs in 2014-almost six times more than the automotive manufacturing sector-and accounted for 8 percent of the national GDP, according to the new U.S. Benchmarking Report by the World Travel and Tourism Council. The benchmarking study is designed to combat the often underappreciated value of tourism as a driver of economic growth. The report demonstrates how tourism is one of the best drivers of economic growth for the foreseeable future. The sector's contribution to the U.S. GDP is estimated to grow at an annual average of 4.4 percent during the next 10 years, outpacing the overall economy forecasted to increase by 2.3 percent per annum throughout the next decade. Adding another layer to that data, the total number of U.S. jobs supported by travel and tourism jumps to 13.7 million, or 9.3 percent of overall employment in the U.S.

  How mobile use varies across generations
While mobile usage increases from generation to generation, there are stark differences when it comes to how the different age groups interact with devices. Mobile research agency RealityMine collected data from 3,000 mobile users and discovered some expected as well as surprising trends. It found that texting has overtaken calling as the most popular mobile function across all generations, with millennial women using SMS three times more often than calling. When it comes to mobile gamers, one-third are older than 45. Gaming accounts for just 4 percent of millennials' mobile app usage, while 45- to 54-year-old users spend 8 percent of their time on mobile devices playing games.

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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