State tourism campaign great fit for St. Landry

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Main News Photo

There is perhaps no place in Louisiana in which the new Louisiana tourism campaign to “Feed Your Soul” is more appropriate than in St. Landry Parish.

Lt. Gov, Billy Nungesser, Louisiana's top tourism official, unveiled the first television ads in a new advertising campaign at the state's annual travel summit on August 23.

The lieutenant governor's office says the TV spots highlight zydeco music, swamp tours, seafood, drinks and dancing, among other experiences. One of the filming locations was Lakeview Park in Eunice. It featured local people dancing to the music of Geno Delafosse and French Rockin’ Boogie.

St. Landry Parish tourism director Celeste Gomez noted that “these are the same experiences that we have promoted for years under the themes that in St. Landry ‘we live our culture’ and that this is the place to find ‘gumbo for your soul.’ The new state campaign is centered on exactly what we have to offer — good food, good fun, good people, and a good experience unlike any that can be found anyplace else.”

The new state strategy was created after six months of research and testing done by the tourism marketing firm Miles Partnership. The new slogan was unveiled last Mardi Gras, when “Feed Your Soul” food trucks handed out king cake and Mardi Gras beads in Atlanta, Houston, Dallas and Washington, D.C.

Both Nungesser and Gomez anticipate that the new campaign will extend a stretch of growth for the industry. Nungesser announced at the tourism summit that 2017 was the sixth consecutive year of record-breaking tourism numbers in Louisiana.

The state welcomed a record 47.1 million visitors, representing an increase of nearly 500,000 over the 46.7 million visitors reported in 2016. Statewide, visitors spent $17.5 billion in 2017, or an average of $371 per person. The travel and tourism industry generated $1.8 billion in state and local sales tax revenue, an increase of 4.5 percent over 2016.      

St. Landry is sharing in that bounty. A University of New Orleans study released in May found that visitors spent $54.5 million in St. Landry Parish in 2017, generating $1.95 million in local taxes.

“By increasing our promotion of Louisiana as a place where you can feed your soul, we can attract more visitors to our state which in turn means more state and local tax revenue we can generate. It all starts with continuing to invest in the efforts to promote Louisiana as a desirable tourism destination," Nungesser said.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that at the end of 2017 some 236,300 jobs were the result of visitor spending in Louisiana, meaning 1 out of every 8.5 working adults in Louisiana is employed as a result of the tourism industry. Since 2007, tourism related employment is the second fastest-growing job sector in Louisiana, increasing more than 20 percent since 2007 and adding more than 40,000 jobs to the state's workforce.

Three things to know about this story:

  • Louisiana’s new tourism campaign is based on the theme “Louisiana: Feed Your Soul.”
  • TV spots highlight zydeco music, swamp tours, seafood, drinks and dancing, among other experiences.
  • These are things we have promoted for years under the themes that in St. Landry “we live our culture” and that this is the place to find “gumbo for your soul.”

 

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