From Cypress Trees to Shrimp Boots
Louisiana tourism summit underway
In a vastly competitive market like tourism, it’s important to stay ahead of industry trends. With this in mind, the Louisiana Lt. Governor’s Tourism Summit is convening in New Orleans this week. More than 500 tourism and hospitality professionals from around the state will attend and do their part to ensure we don’t lose visitors to the likes of Mississippi or Texas.
Louisiana has gained visitors annually for five years, and 46.7 million people came to our Sportsman’s Paradise in 2016. While they were here, they spent over $16.8 billion and generated over $1 billion in state tax revenue according to reports by DK Shifflet and Associates, a leading research firm that measures U.S. resident travelers and their behavior.
"Tourism is important to Louisiana because it is the No. 4 employer in the state,” said Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser. “It also brings people from all over the world to visit our great state and all it has to offer—and these visitors leave over $1 billion annually in taxes that we don't have to pay!"
Nungesser said the summit is important because it, “helps all of us to improve our game while thinking of new experiences to bring even more people to Louisiana to feed that economic boom we have seen the last couple years in tourism."
The Lt. Governor’s Tourism Summit brings together industry leaders and workers who represent tourism in a variety of roles. Hotel concierges, restaurant owners, marketing staff, swamp boat captains, airport employees, visitors center teams and more will participate in informational sessions and workshops to hone their skills and keep Louisiana tourism vibrant.
The summit, located at the Sheraton New Orleans on Canal St., began on Tuesday with meetings of professional organizations, area familiarization tours and an opening reception. It continues Wednesday with general and breakout sessions.
On Thursday, the event culminates with the Lt. Governor’s closing luncheon, where Nungesser will deliver a state of the industry address, as well announce the REEL Louisiana video contest winners. The REEL Louisiana video contest challenged filmmakers to show, in 90 seconds or less, what makes Louisiana a unique place, and the contest winners will be awarded a combined $20,000 in prize money. Nungesser will also kick off a rebranding initiative for Louisiana tourism and ask for feedback from the industry.
“I intend to talk about several things,” shared Nungesser. “The most important thing I will talk about is the success we have had. Since I took office, we continue to bring people to every part of the state while breaking records. And of course, there may be some surprises along the way, so stay tuned!”
Topic areas for the sessions are organized into three tracks: management/service, marketing/sales and communications. Wednesday afternoon offers sessions on social media engagement metrics, museum innovation, public relations and market research. Thursday’s sessions cover international tourism, the culture of service, creativity, community tourism and best practices in working with a board.
On-site registration is still available for Wednesday and Thursday. The full conference is $450 and the one day rate is $245.
The Lt. Governor’s Tourism Summit is presented in partnership with the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association and the Louisiana Office of Tourism, and the sponsorship host role is filled by the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. This is the first time since 2008 the summit was held in NOLA, having most recently taken place in Shreveport and Baton Rouge.