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Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism Earns Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) Designation

Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism Earns Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) Designation
 

Raceland, Louisiana (July 15, 2020) – Today Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism, the destination marketing and management organization for Lafourche Parish, received a Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) seal from Destinations International, an association dedicated to elevating the tourism industry to its highest potential. The organization informs and inspires its members to ensure that tourism is both an economic engine for their communities and a way to improve the quality of life for visitors and locals alike. The DMAP accreditation recognizes a tourism bureau’s commitment to meeting the highest standards of performance in the tourism industry.

Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism took things one step further by achieving “accreditation with distinction,” an honor reserved for those tourism offices that go well beyond meeting the required standards of accreditation. Lafourche Parish is one of just a handful of small destinations in the country to achieve this high honor.

As part of Destinations International’s goals of building a worldwide tourism community, serving as a collective voice for the industry, conducting relevant research, and providing professional development across the industry, the organization encourages all its members to work toward earning DMAP certification. Achieving this accreditation demonstrates that a tourism bureau is a valued organization within its community and the entire tourism industry. Only a few hundred destinations in the United States have met the rigorous standards dictated by the accreditation program.

To earn a DMAP seal, an organization must complete a lengthy and comprehensive application process to demonstrate compliance with a series of industry standards that span such topics as governance, finance, management, human resources, technology, visitor services, group services, sales, communications, membership, brand management, destination development, research and marketing intelligence, innovation, and stakeholder relationships.

Newly accredited organizations are typically recognized by Destinations International at its annual convention in July. This year’s convention is being held as a virtual event, and today the most recent class of tourism offices to achieve accreditation were honored by their industry peers.

“We wanted to go through the DMAP process to ensure that our standards for successful destination management and marketing aligned with our industry’s national standard,” said LCBT president and CEO Timothy Bush. “Achieving our accreditation is a huge accomplishment that lets our community partners and elected leaders know that Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism is operating at the highest level for our community. Our role will be even more important as we continue to navigate a world that includes COVID-19.”        

The DMAP designation is one more way that Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism is proving that tourism can have a significant economic impact on even the smallest communities. The LCBT staff consistently strives to raise awareness of Lafourche Parish as a tourism destination, from completely rebranding the area in 2017 to debuting the Cajun Bayou Food Trail in 2018 to launching the “Remember Lafourche” marketing campaign just a few weeks ago. The office takes pride in developing fresh, award-winning tourism programs that generate regional and national attention.

“This is truly an honor for the board of directors, staff and our entire community,” said LCBT Board Chair Jeremy Punch. “Timothy, along with the support of his team, has transformed Lafourche Parish Tourism into one of our state’s and region’s most respected destination marketing organizations. This designation shows our organization’s commitment to elevating the standards in our community, which helps drive our economy through innovative marketing and strong leadership.”


USA Today 10Best: Thibodaux Is Home to One of the Country’s Best Small-Town Food Scenes

Dishing up a Victory on USA Today 10Best: Thibodaux Is Home to One of the Country’s Best Small-Town Food Scenes
 

Raceland, Louisiana (July 10, 2020) – The town of Thibodaux today earned recognition from the popular website USA Today 10Best as having the #3-ranked Best Small-Town Food Scene in the country. Achieving this honor is in part a testament to the success of the Cajun Bayou Food Trail, an initiative launched by Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism two years ago.

The Cajun Bayou Food Trail boasts 16 restaurant participants throughout Lafourche Parish, seven of which are in Thibodaux. Since it launched in May 2018, the Trail has been a clever way for locals and visitors alike to experience the unique food cultures of this area.

A new 10Best Reader’s Choice Award contest launches every other Monday at noon Eastern time, revealing 20 nominees in several themed categories. The website’s readers – averaging about 5 million per month – are encouraged to review the master list and begin voting for their favorites over a period of four weeks. Readers can vote once a day for 28 days, and the list of 20 is ultimately whittled down to 10 winners.

That’s the process by which Thibodaux claimed the #3 ranking on the list of Best Small-Town Food Scenes, which was topped by Abingdon, Virginia, and Punta Gorda, Florida, in the #1 and #2 positions, respectively. Thibodaux was the only Louisiana town to make the Top 10 list.

10Best.com gives its users original, unbiased content about things to see and do, places to eat, and destinations to visit all around the United States and throughout the world. It relies on a team of travel experts to help create its lists, and in this case, some of the experts as well as a USA Today 10Best editor had personally visited Thibodaux in the past few years and could attest to the town’s appealing food scene.

To see a complete list of winners, please visit https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-small-town-food-scene-2020/. To learn what topics are being voted on at USA Today 10 BEST right now and perhaps participate in a vote yourself, check out https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/.


New Tourism Campaign Encourages Prospective and Returning Visitors to “Remember Lafourche”

New Tourism Campaign Encourages Prospective and Returning Visitors to “Remember Lafourche”

 

Raceland, Louisiana (May 27, 2020) – As the world begins to emerge from the COVID-19 cocoon in which it’s been enveloped for the past few months, the entire travel industry is laser-focused on how to encourage visitors to newly discover or eagerly return to tourism destinations around the country. The team at Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism, the organization responsible for positioning Lafourche Parish as a regionally, nationally and internationally recognized tourism destination, has spent the past few months building a new strategy for attracting visitors and stimulating economic recovery and growth throughout the parish.

On June 1, just as travelers are becoming more comfortable packing their bags and returning to the open roads, the tourism office will unveil its new “Remember Lafourche” marketing campaign. The program – which includes print, digital and social media advertising as well as strategically positioned billboards in such key drive markets as New Orleans, Houston and Biloxi -- will build off the parish’s proximity to those markets while also demonstrating the differences that truly set this destination apart.

The campaign comes on the heels of intensive research the tourism office conducted throughout 2019 to determine who its visitors are, where they’re coming from and what draws them to the parish. Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism partnered with Randall Travel Marketing, a research firm based in North Carolina, to conduct visitor surveys several times last year.

All that research demonstrated that leisure travel – people coming to the parish simply to visit, without a tie to business or work – has increased over the past few years. Those visitors are most likely to come from other parts of Louisiana; the neighboring states of Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi and Texas; and Canada and France. Guests are drawn by the region’s Cajun culture, natural beauty, outdoor adventures, delicious food and friendly locals, all factors that ensure that their first visit is usually followed by return trips.

“The key to our ongoing success as a tourism destination is attracting visitors the first time, because we know there’s a strong likelihood that they’ll be drawn in by Lafourche Parish’s charms and become repeat guests,” said Timothy Bush, President & CEO of Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism. “We may not have a big marketing budget, but we have an unlimited quantity of creativity and passion for our destination. We used that to develop this concept of speaking to visitors who either live in or are visiting our drive markets and simply encouraging them to venture a short distance in search of unique, authentic bayou experiences that only we can provide.”

Research conducted by countless organizations within the travel industry since the COVID-19 outbreak indicates that road trips are going to be the preferred type of vacation Americans embark on for the remainder of 2020. Studies also show that travelers will be drawn to smaller towns and rural areas, seeking more space and craving opportunities to get out on the water or experience the outdoors in other ways. Those opportunities combine to make the third and fourth quarters of 2020 the perfect time to position Lafourche Parish as a quick getaway from other places in Louisiana as well as surrounding states.

Revenue generated by visitors – whether they’re eating in restaurants, staying in hotels, visiting a museum, taking a swamp tour, going out for a day of fishing with a charter captain, or simply purchasing gas and groceries – benefits each resident of Lafourche Parish. In 2019, according to the study, tourism generated more than $54 million in economic impact for Lafourche Parish. In addition, data from the Louisiana Office of Tourism shows the tourism industry supported 1,110 jobs in the parish in 2018, the latest year for which data is available. In short, tourism is going to be an essential part of the parish’s economic recovery following COVID-19.


Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism Welcomes Two New Members to Its Staff

Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism Welcomes Two New Members to Its Staff

 

Raceland, Louisiana (April 14, 2020) - Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism announces that two new employees have joined its team of professionals dedicated to positioning Lafourche Parish as a regionally, nationally and internationally recognized, year-round tourism destination. Bree Plaisance, a resident of Lockport, began working for the tourism office last month as its Office Manager and Administrative Assistant; Cody A. Gray, who relocated from central Florida, joined the team in mid-April as its Director of Sales and Marketing.

“It’s an interesting time to be working in the travel industry, but we were in the midst of growing and developing our internal team prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and decided to stick to our original plans,” said Timothy Bush, President & CEO of Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism. “We had some big ideas in the works as 2020 began, and those have become even more important in light of the decrease in travel due to the coronavirus. I think we’ve assembled a team that can truly rise to the occasion and meet the new challenges that face tourism, our state and our parish.”

Gray has worked in Florida’s travel industry for the past six and a half years, first for the Columbia County Tourist Development Council and then as the Director of Sales and Marketing for a Tru Hotel by Hilton. He received his TMP (Travel Marketing Professional) certification via the Southeast Tourism Society’s Marketing College in 2018 and is eager to put his knowledge and expertise to work promoting Lafourche Parish.

When he was looking for candidates for the office’s sales and marketing posts, Bush was most impressed by Gray’s solid tourism background, working first at a travel bureau for a rural destination that’s similar to Lafourche Parish and then within the hotel industry. He brought a great combination of skills to the table, which allowed Bush to consolidate various job descriptions into one position rather than multiple roles. In short, Gray can walk the walk and talk the talk in a job that requires him to relate to tourism partners up and down the bayou.

Plaisance, a lifelong resident of the parish, holds two degrees from Nicholls State University and has spent more than 10 years managing offices and organizing finances for an array of businesses. Bush says that Plaisance’s deep roots in Lafourche Parish and knowledge of and passion for the region will serve her well in her new role, which requires significant interaction with people who make use of the parish’s visitor center in Raceland.  Plaisance and her mother have both worked at local restaurants that are part of the Cajun Bayou Food Trail, an initiative the tourism office unveiled two years ago and that has earned the parish local, regional and national media attention.


Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism Launches 2020 Tourism Investment Program

Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism Launches 2020 Tourism Investment Program

               

January 22, 2020 – Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism (LCBT) is now accepting applications for the 2020 Tourism Investment Program.

The Tourism Investment Program was created by the LCBT Board of Directors as part of the organization’s 2016 strategic plan. The goal of the program is to support tourism developments efforts within Lafourche Parish that can attract more visitors to the destination and increase the economic value of tourism for the local economy. Since 2016, the program has awarded $176,000 to local organizations with a focus on driving visitation to Lafourche Parish. The funding provided to these organizations was used to build their tourism product and enhance marketing promotions efforts.

The Tourism Investment Program guide and application can be found on LCBT’s website, lacajunbayou.com, under the “About” section. The deadline to submit applications is February 14, 2020.

LCBT will host an informational session for anyone interested in applying for funding from the program on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 from 2:00-3:30 pm at the Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism Visitor Center, located at 4484 Hwy 1 in Raceland.         

“This program is essential for moving tourism forward in Lafourche Parish,” said Timothy P. Bush, president and CEO of LCBT. “I encourage businesses and individuals who are interested in making a difference in our economy through a tourism project to apply and attend the informational session.”


Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism Wins State Award for Cajun Bayou Food Trail

This week, during the Louisiana Travel Association (LTA) annual meeting in Alexandria, Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism (LCBT) won the award for Tourism Promotion/Campaign of the Year for the Cajun Bayou Food Trail.

“We are pleased to accept this award for the Cajun Bayou Food Trail,” said Timothy P. Bush, LCBT president and CEO. “We wanted to create an experience that celebrates the authentic Cajun food scene found up and down the Bayou in Lafourche Parish and feel grateful to be honored for this project. Visitors from all over the world come to Louisiana to enjoy the food and Lafourche Parish is one of the best places to get a true Cajun meal. The Trail’s purpose is to bring that to light.”

“We are very honored and appreciative that the Louisiana Travel Association chose the Cajun Bayou Food Trail as Tourism Promotion/Campaign of the Year,” said CVB Board Chair Jeremy Punch. “We are proud of the team here at LCBT and could not have achieved this honor without the support of our Trail partners and restaurants.”

Highlights of the Cajun Bayou Food Trail campaign include more than 16,000 clicks to the Trail webpage on www.lacajunbayou.com and significant national media exposure. Lafourche Parish and the Cajun Bayou Food Trail have been featured in 40 stories in national print and online publications including USA Today, Travel Channel, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times. The reach of these stories has garnered well over $2 million in earned media for LCBT. Because of these nationwide stories, the visitor center has welcomed many travelers coming to the parish to take the Trail and eat in the local restaurants.

LCBT created the Cajun Bayou Food Trail to showcase the local food scene and its importance to Cajun culture in Lafourche Parish. The goal was to provide the parish with credibility and exposure as a food destination by elevating the local food story. The Trail consists of 16 restaurants/markets and six events. The Trail includes a map used to navigate the locations and a passport that is stamped when you visit one of the restaurants on the Trail. Passports require seven stamps then the participant receives a free t-shirt. Getting on the Trail is easy, visit www.lacajunbayou.com/foodtrail to download your map and passport. 


Louisiana's Cajun Bayou Tourism Awards $75,000 to Community Projects

Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism (LCBT) awarded five community projects $75,000 in funding today from the Tourism Investment Program fund (TIP).

The funds, generated from a portion of the room tax revenues paid by overnight visitors to Lafourche Parish lodging accommodation, will go towards, two bayou development projects, an annual antique show, field enhancement at Minor Field and the development of a theatre series at Nicholls State University.

“These five projects selected by the Tourism Investment Program Committee and approved by the LCBT Board of Directors, based on their merit to increase tourism opportunities in Lafourche Parish will add significant value to our tourism development efforts for the area,” said LCBT President and CEO Timothy P. Bush. “Collectively, these project will expand access to Bayou Lafourche recreational experiences, increase the opportunity to host more sporting events, continue to push this regional as the cultural hub of the region and support one of the fall’s most significant generators of overnight stays.” 

The projects were evaluated according to the criteria established by the LCBT Board of Director. The funding will assist with the creation and development of projects that are expected to attract overnight visitors and generate spending for the local economy.

In all, the 2017 TIP cycle received a total of 11 applications for consideration, totaling more than $200,000 in requested funding. Five of the projects were presented to the LCBT Board of Directors for consideration based on their overall project strength, destination brand alignment and potential to generate overnight visitation, as well as increase economic impact within Lafourche Parish.

Since the TIP was implemented in 2016, LCBT has awarded $170,000 in grants that have supported both marketing and tourism development projects.

 “Every project we received were outstanding projects. The projects selected were those that best meet the goal of the Tourism Investment Program,” said TIP Chair Zina Sampey. On behalf of the committee, I want to thank all of the applicants for their time and effort in participating in this process.”

“The way to grow tourism in Lafourche Parish is by working together through community partnerships,” said LCBT Chair Marguerite Knight Erwin. “LCBT is very excited to work with these community partners to create new and continuing experiences to attract more travelers to our destination.”


Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism Honors Tourism Partners

In honor of National Travel and Tourism Week, Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism (LCBT) honored two local tourism partners with the “Spirit of the Bayou Tourism Award.”  The award honors Lafourche Parish tourism partners who deliver the Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou brand and provide visitors with outstanding customer service. 

The 2017 recipients of the award are Airboat Tours by Arthur Matherne and Herbert Adams of E.D. White Historic Site. The awards were presented by LCBT President & CEO, Timothy P. Bush and Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, who is traveling around the state to celebrate a fifth consecutive record breaking year for tourism in Louisiana.  The event was hosted the Jean Lafitte National Park Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux.

“Here in Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou, we have wonderful and supportive partners who work really hard and are great ambassadors for our community and the experiences this area offers,” said LCBT President & CEO Timothy P. Bush. “I say often that as the destination marketing organization, we don’t deliver the experiences to visitors, that role is what our partners do. I am extremely thankful that this area has so many wonderful partners who deliver the Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou brand through their work. We are very proud to honor Airboat Tours by Arthur Matherne and Herbert Adams for their contributions to tourism. They are shining examples of the 560 people who work in our local tourism industry every single day and provide value to our industry through their continuous hard work.”

Other highlights from the event include:

LCBT Launches New Destination Website

On Monday, LCBT launched a new website built to support the Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou brand, launched earlier this year. Designed by Tomahawk Tourism, the website features a new design that focuses on strong visual images of the area, simplistic navigation, and a storytelling element that showcases the natural, unapologetic culture found up and down the Bayou in Lafourche Parish.

“This new website will be a great extension to showcase the Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou story to visitors,” said Bush. “So many visitors plan their travel online today. We felt it was important to create a website that will inspire and assist visitors in planning their visit to the area.”

“We are beyond proud to have worked with Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism on this project, said Tomahawk Tourism USA CEO Marica Mackenroth Brewster. “They knew exactly how they wanted to portray Louisiana's Cajun Bayou online and the demographic to reach. The background research, strategy, content planning, and artistic direction were developed throughout a series of brain bouncing sessions which resulted in a stunning end product. From the navigation structure to the robust functionality, this website is positioned to engage and inspire visitors to experience Louisiana's Cajun Bayou.”

Wetlands Cultural Byway Videos

Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism and Houma Area Convention & Visitors Bureau have partnered together to produce a series of videos to promote the Wetlands Cultural Byway, which stretches over 250 miles between the two parishes.  The three videos focus on a multigenerational family, a group of millennials, and a couple looking to enjoy a romantic weekend getaway, all experiences that can be found along the byway.

Lt. Governor Touts State Tourism Numbers and Bass Trail Launch

Lt. Gov. Nungesser shared highlights about the positive growth of tourism for Louisiana. He also talked about the roll out of Louisiana Bass Trail, designed to get more fishing enthusiast traveling through some of Louisiana’s best state parks. The initiative highlights seven lakes at eight state parks throughout north Louisiana. To learn more about the Louisiana Bass Trail, visit LouisianaBassTrail.com.

National Speaker to Talk Online Reputation Management

LBCT will wrap up its National Travel and Tourism Week activities by hosting a tourism workshop on Sense of Place and Reputation Management, presented by Jim Brody. Brody is the president and CDN (Chief DMO Nerd) for Sense of Place, a company dedicated to helping destination marketing organizations and their partners navigate the digital landscape. He has a keen understand of digital marketing and reputation management. 

 


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