Tourism Director for Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Is Named One of the Nation’s Seven “Emerging Tourism Stars”
Raceland, Louisiana (July 9, 2021) – Cody Gray, President and CEO of Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism, Lafourche Parish’s destination marketing organization, has been named an “Emerging Tourism Star for 2021” by Connect Travel, the owner and producer of the annual eTourism Summit.
Gray will be among the inaugural class of Emerging Tourism Stars, a select group of tourism leaders who will be recognized by a brand-new annual program that was designed to honor top professionals in the field of destination marketing.
Each of this year’s winners will be connected to a mentor in the travel industry, and all will receive a scholarship to attend the 22nd Annual eTourism Summit to be held in Las Vegas in September. All seven honorees will be invited to participate in a panel discussion at that event, and one member of this small group will be selected to fill the new “Emerging Tourism Star” seat on the eTourism Summit Advisory Board in 2022.
Gray is the only tourism representative from the Southeast to receive this first-time honor. The other six honorees hail from California, Indiana, Michigan and Texas.
“This is incredibly flattering, not only to be recognized by my peers, but also to be selected as one of just seven inaugural recipients,” Gray said. “I’m a firm believer in always wanting to learn more, always striving to be more. Any honor bestowed on me directly reflects on the accomplishments of Lafourche Parish and our entire tourism industry. We aim to shine brightly in everything we do, so it’s incredibly exciting and gratifying that the nation’s tourism industry has focused its spotlight on our corner of the world.”
Gray joined Lafourche Parish’s tourism office as its Director of Sales and Marketing in April 2020, relocating from his home state of Florida just as the global tourism industry shut down due to the pandemic. In the brief time that he’s been in Louisiana, Gray has helped the parish – especially its restaurant and festival partners – cope with and then bounce back from the financial hardships brought about by the pandemic’s impact on the nation’s tourism industry. His efforts on behalf of the parish and its growing tourism industry were acknowledged on the local and state levels when he was promoted to the position of President and CEO last December. This week’s “Emerging Stars” announcement is his first national honor, but it’s highly doubtful it will be his last.
Prior to moving to Louisiana, Gray worked in Florida’s travel industry for nearly seven years, first for the Columbia County Tourist Development Council and then as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Tru by Hilton & Lake City Hotels, Inc. Gray received his TMP (Travel Marketing Professional) certification via the Southeast Tourism Society’s Marketing College in 2018 and has continued professional development initiatives for himself and the rest of the tourism office staff since arriving in the parish.