Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser presented his State of Tourism address on Monday, announcing over 41 million visitors came to Louisiana during 2021, signifying a quicker than expected recovery following two challenging years of stalled visitation due to the pandemic.
“After five years of consecutive record-breaking tourism numbers jumping to over 53 million in 2019 and the halt of tourism after Mardi Gras 2020, we are now seeing the hotels, restaurants, events, and festivals across the state spring back to life,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “With a 29% increase over 2020, the announcement of increasing visitation again gives hope and encouragement to the tourism and hospitality industries who have persevered, once again ranking Louisiana in the top 10 desired destinations on many national travel sources.”
Lt. Governor Nungesser delivered the State of Tourism address at the State Library as the official kickoff to the 39th Annual National Travel and Tourism Week, May 1-7, in Louisiana. The theme this year is “Future of Travel,” highlighting how the travel industry can restore the workforce, help communities recover, foster sustainability, usher in innovations, and reconnect travelers in the U.S. and around the world.
“The future of travel is opportunity. It is the chance to rebuild our hospitality industry and welcome people from all over the world to enjoy our rich cultural heritage, unique and unforgettable cuisine, and music,” added Nungesser. “Tourism is Louisiana’s 4th largest employer with over 250,000 people who bring out the best in hospitality in our state. Like I always say, when you are here, we treat you like family.”
During his address, Lt. Governor Nungesser also detailed the increase in internet traffic to the LouisianaTravel.com website, which received 9.7 million visits in 2021 – an increase of 162% from 2020. The website is on track in 2022 to exceed 9.7 million visits, showing interest in traveling to Louisiana is on the rise.
“Tourism is coming back strong in Louisiana and our travel industry is poised to make significant strides following the challenges of the last two years,” said Nungesser. “Mardi Gras this year was a huge success statewide, and we have already seen record crowds at spring festivals such as the Strawberry Festival in Ponchatoula, the Scott Boudin Festival, French Quarter Festival, Festival International in Lafayette, and the Jazz and Heritage Festivals in New Orleans.”
“People are eager to travel again and we are ready to welcome our domestic and international visitors with open arms,” said Doug Bourgeois, Louisiana Office of Tourism Assistant Secretary. “Our continued success in attracting visitors to Louisiana requires coordinated teamwork between the Louisiana Office of Tourism and our tourism partners across the state.”
Following the State of Tourism address, the Lieutenant Governor, Louisiana Office of Tourism, and Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board hosted a Louisiana Seafood Celebration for legislators, elected officials, tourism industry stakeholders, and media.
To celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week, the Lt. Governor Nungesser, along with Louisiana Office of Tourism staff will make stops at locations across the state, including Hammond, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Jefferson Parish, Lafourche Parish, Ascension Parish, Lafayette, Alexandria, Ruston, and Monroe.