At the end of each year, it is time for the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission to reflect on the year's accomplishments and determine the objectives for the New Year. As we reviewed 2012, there were many major events and activities that were significant in making 2012 another outstanding year for tourism in Webster Parish. Here are some that are noteworthy:
n Since 2007, worked on the development of Nature-Based Tourism in Webster Parish focused on paddling trails on Bayou Dorcheat. The wood duck box installation is finally complete and a press conference will be held in spring. This project was nominated by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation for the 2011 Governor's Conservation Achievement Award.
n Hosted a ribbon cutting event at the new Doerge Landing boat launch between Springhill and Shongaloo. With the attendance of more than 60 guests including media, this event was another terrific opportunity for publicity about the development of Bayou Dorcheat as a major tourist attraction for Webster Parish.
nApplied and awarded a $10,000.00 advertising grant from the Louisiana Office of Tourism for a billboard campaign.
n Completed the interpretive panels for the kiosk in Sarepta on the Boom or Bust Byway.
The kiosk features six panels featuring the people, places, and the history that makes our parish unique and has slots for brochures for the visitor.
n Worked with the Secretary of State Museum System for three years to provided "way showing" (directional) signage for the Germantown Colony Museum. Nine signs were installed the week before the Bluegrass Festival in September.
n Webster Parish was represented at the 2012 Bassmaster Classic at the Shreveport Convention Center in February. Along with Homer Humphreys signing autographs at our booth, handed out over 2500 Webster Parish packets during a four hour period on Saturday. Homer Humphreys and Lynn Dorsey were featured on Paradise Louisiana Television Network during the Classic.
n Worked with Channel 12 News to produce an hour long news program "On the Road Show" highlighting the City of Minden. The "On the Road Show" was a new endeavor for Channel 12 and the City of Minden was selected as one of four communities for an hour- long live broadcast featuring the people, places, and history of Minden.
n In October and November, hosted 12 travel writers resulting in articles in the November/ December issue of Louisiana Life Magazine, the Mardi Gras Guide 2013 Annual Edition, two articles in the November and December issues of Louisiana Road Trips Magazine, the Ft. Worth Telegram, the Bastrop Daily Enterprise, the Ruston Leader, and featured on the Glynn Harris Radio Show and in his syndicated column published in numerous newspapers.
If you question what the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission does, our Mission Statement is: "To provide leadership in marketing Webster Parish as a highly desirable visitor and meeting destination and engage in visitor promotions, which result in overnight stays and activities within Webster Parish." The editorials detailed above in this report are only one example of the results of our extensive efforts and have a monetary value that is priceless.
Lynn Dorsey is the executive director of the Webster Parish Convention & Visitors Bureau. Her column runs monthly in the Minden Press-Herald.