Here is his statement:
Nearly 45 Convention and Visitors Bureaus and attractions in Louisiana joined the Louisiana Office of Tourism (LOT) in promoting the state to international tour operators during the 2017 Travel South USA International Showcase on November 27-29 in Charleston, SC. Delegates had the opportunity to showcase their area to more than 100 international and U.S. tour operators. In its sixth year, the Travel South USA International Showcase primarily focuses on international travelers interested in visiting the Southeastern United States.
“On the heels of our recent mission to Germany and London, combined with the expansion of direct international flights to New Orleans, it’s encouraging to see our tourism partners statewide focused on increasing international visitation to our state,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “The goal is to utilize our partnerships to see the number of international visitors rise as we continue to market Louisiana as an exciting destination to experience and explore. The reason – international visitors stay longer and on average spend more money.”
“To have the most partner representation of any of the other Travel South states says something about the importance of promoting Louisiana internationally. Each year, the number of tourism suppliers representing Louisiana has been greater than any of the other 12 states, including the host state, comprising Travel South,” said Assistant Secretary Kyle Edmiston.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Travel & Tourism Office (NTTO), while international visitation to the United States as a whole was down 2.4 percent from 2015 to 2016, Louisiana saw a small rise in 2016, by about 1,000 international visitors, following a 36 percent increase from 2015. With the addition and recent expansion of direct British Airways service from London to New Orleans, the additional of seasonal direct service to Germany on Condor Airlines and direct flights to Honduras on Choice Aire in 2017, Louisiana is in an advantageous position to see increases in the number of international visitors to Louisiana over the next several years.
The quality of the Travel South USA International Showcase is evident and since the show’s inception, the New Orleans CVB and Louisiana Office of Tourism have been annual sponsors. The showcase allows states and destinations one-on-one opportunities to better promote their regions. After hosting the U.S. Travel Association’s IPW in New Orleans in 2016, Louisiana stands to see an increase of 1 million international visitors and a direct economic impact of an estimated $1.7 billion through 2018. Many international tour operators not attending IPW attended the Travel South International Showcase. The Louisiana Office of Tourism is gearing up for the next IPW in Denver in May 2018.
Travel South USA has announced New Orleans as the host of the 2020 International Showcase. Additionally, Baton Rouge will host the 2020 Travel South USA Domestic Showcase.