At the end of January, the staff of the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission attended the 2013 Lt. Governor's Tourism Summit in Lake Charles. Each year this is the state pep rally and educational forum for the members of the tourism industry of Louisiana.
It is a time for the Louisiana State Office of Tourism to present their advertising campaign for the year and to report on the economic impact our industry has on the our state revenues.
Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne unveiled new initiatives for 2013. "I think the whole theme of our campaign, our television ads, our print ads, are focusing on Louisiana music and Louisiana food," he said. "They really kind of go together. I think that's the message we're trying to convey to people who come to Louisiana, to enjoy those two aspects of Louisiana life." Officially, 2013 is the year of Louisiana music. The campaign, entitled "Pick Your Passion," includes the official Louisiana Tour Guide. It features award-winning jazz artist Irvin Mayfield. Dardenne also introduced a new website: www.LouisianaSoundTrack.Com.
The Summit is also a time for the Louisiana Office of Tourism to report on the economic impact the tourism industry has on our state revenues. Below is information from a study conducted by the Research Department of the U.S. Travel Association for the Louisiana Office of Tourism. The study presents 2011 domestic travel economic impact on Louisiana. Estimates include travel expenditures, travel-generated employment and payroll income, as well as tax revenues for federal, state, and local government.
What Does Tourism do for Louisiana?
• 25.5 Million - visitors to Louisiana in 2011.
• 10.1 Billion - dollars spent by domestic and international visitors in Louisiana in 2011.
• 1.2 Million - visitors greeted at Louisiana Welcome Centers in 2011.
• $8.3 Billion- annual spending generated in Louisiana businesses.
• 124,000 - directly employed in a tourism related job.
• 60,000 - additional jobs created in secondary employment.
• $5 billion- wages and salaries generated for residents.
• 1 out of 12 people in Louisiana are employed as a result of the tourism industry.
• $17 – tax revenue generated from every dollar invested in tourism advertising.
• Webster Parish ranked in the top 20 parishes in the State of Louisiana in domestic traveler spending.
• $9.5 billion tourism industry produces
How Tourism Benefits Your Community:
• Louisiana's $9.5 billion tourism industry produces more than $214.8 million annually in local taxes.
• Increased visitor spending supports all businesses in a local economy, not just tourism establishments.
• The economic diversity tourism adds to economies, serves as insurance in difficult economic times, particularly in communities that rely heavily on one or few industries.
• Tourism creates jobs that are rarely outsourced or relocated to other states.
• New or improved infrastructure like roads and recreation spaces improve both the visitor experience and the quality of life for local residents.
• Tourism fosters the preservation of local culture and tradition, reaffirming a sense of community identity and pride.
Lynn Dorsey is the Executive Director of the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission.