When we think about tourist sites often times thoughts turn to big cities like our neighbor, New Orleans. But do you ever wonder about tourism in our own backyard? Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou and our local attractions; fishing, swamp tours, museums, restaurants, and authentic Cajun culture are the backbone of Lafourche Parish. These places and experiences define our community, provide our families with jobs and have given us-and thousands of visitors-a lifetime of memories.
Travel matters, and it improves Lafourche Parish in ways that have a wide-reaching impact on our community. It is critical to our economy and jobs. In the last year, travelers spent $71.8 million dollars at our businesses creating $2.75 million in local tax revenue. Tourism supports 1,010 jobs within the parish and it also has an impact that we do not always see: travel can strengthen families, foster hometown pride, and build bridges that connect us with one another.
Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism, the destination marketing organization for Lafourche Parish, spends over $180,000 each year promoting our area to potential visitors all over the world. The goal of these promotion efforts is to showcase our unapologetic Cajun culture, food, and outdoors that appeals to many looking for authentic, unmanufactured experiences. Journalists are noticing and interest is gaining momentum as travel writers and bloggers are coming to explore and in turn writing about why visitors need to come. Last year, published articles earned more than $2 million in media coverage and appeared in USA Today, Travel Channel, and large city newspapers nationwide.
Travel matters to growing and sustaining our community. Visitor spending allows money to be placed back into our parish though the Tourism Investment Program. A variety of local attractions and businesses have received more than $175,000 in grants to be used for supporting, developing, and maintaining the parish as an attractive and viable destination.
These are only a few reasons why it’s so important to keeping welcoming visitors to Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou and why our industry is elevating the message of “Travel Matters” during National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) May 5-11. We encourage you to join in observing NTTW this year, and celebrate all that travel does for Lafourche Parish.
Here are a few ways you can get involved:
· Join us at our NTTW event on May 9 at 10:30 am, Bayou Playhouse in Lockport.
· Contact members of our state legislature and tell them why travel is important to Lafourche Parish.
· Get social and engage with the #cajunbayou hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and share our posts about why travel matters in our community.