Louisiana attracts more visitors, spending following post-pandemic challenges

BATON ROUGE – Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Office of Tourism are marking the 40th anniversary of National Travel & Tourism Week with promising increases in visitation and visitor spending.

According to research from MMGY Global, Louisiana saw 1.56 million more domestic and international visitors in 2022, attracting 42.6 million travelers, a 3.8% increase over 2021. Louisiana generated $17.1 billion in domestic and international spending in 2022 as visitor spending grew $381 million from a year ago, an increase of 2.3% over 2021.

“As we celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week, we’re excited to see that we are continuing to experience increases in visitation to Louisiana. We are ahead of schedule compared to many other states and according to several forecasts by national tourism research showing improvement wouldn’t come until 2024 or 2025,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “Without the hard work and dedication of all of the members of our great travel and tourism industry, this improvement would not be possible. We are committed to being just as dedicated and unwavering in our efforts to once again reach record-breaking visitation.”

“It’s clear to see our efforts together with all of our tourism partners are having a positive impact on visitation,” added Lt. Governor Nungesser. “We’re seeing these ongoing increases despite not having full return of air service and hotel closures created by not only the pandemic, but the damage from hurricanes.”

To return the state’s travel and tourism industry to pre-pandemic levels, Lt. Governor Nungesser initiated the Louisiana Sunshine Plan, a multi-year strategy that included marketing support, rural tourism programs, education and training, and more.

The Louisiana Office of Tourism launched the Louisiana Attractions Support Grant to provide targeted assistance for Louisiana-based tourism attractions for marketing or to enhance the visitor experience. This included two phases, one in 2022 and a second in 2023. The state also offered the Louisiana Festival & Events Recovery Grant to encourage and support marketing for Louisiana fairs and festivals.

“Louisiana is home to over 400 festivals a year and it’s one of the special things about our state that keeps visitors coming back year after year,” said Lt. Governor Nungesser. “Many of these events were hit hard by the pandemic restrictions, so supporting them to ensure they could return to business as usual was a critical part of our recovery plan.”

To continue to support Louisiana’s many celebrations, including not only these festivals, but the iconic Mardi Gras celebrations around the state, Louisiana sponsored a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The longest float in Macy’s history, the Louisiana Celebration Gator rolled for the first time in 2021 in New York City. Following on the heels of that success, Louisiana also sponsored a float in the Tournament of Roses annual Rose Parade. The state has placed a float in the new year’s day parade in 2022 and 2023.

“This year, we took our presentation at the Rose Parade even further. Our float riders included 21 Louisiana festival queens and a representative of Shriners Hospital’s 100 anniversary. These excellent ambassadors of the state came from every corner of Louisiana and were excited and ready to share what made their region special,” said Lt. Governor Nungesser.

Earlier this month, Lt. Governor Nungesser and the Louisiana Office of Tourism announced the launch of ExploreLouisiana.com – renaming the state’s primary travel website and social media channels with the goal of inspiring more travel across Louisiana.

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