Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser joined Terrebonne Parish officials today to highlight tourism’s contribution locally and statewide.
“The tourism industry continues to grow in a time when a lot of other industries are suffering in Louisiana,” Nungesser said during a brief celebration at Terrebonne’s tourist center in Gray. “It is a shining bright light for Louisiana.”
Nungesser, who is making stops across the state for National Tourism Week, said 2017 was the sixth straight year of record-breaking tourism numbers in Louisiana.
The state welcomed 47.1 million visitors last year, up nearly 500,000 compared to 2016, according to numbers from the tourism and travel research firm DK Shifflet. Those visitors spent $17.5 billion, 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 from 2016, Nungesser said. That revenue represents a 37-to-1 return on investment of state funding. Tax revenue generated through travel and tourism spending saves each household in Louisiana $1,047 a year in taxes that would be needed to maintain current services.
Nungesser also discussed the state’s new branding campaign -- Louisiana: Feed Your Soul, saying it conveys to the world that no other state can offer the bounty of food, music, history and culture Louisiana can.
“This exciting new brand will offer travelers a new outlook – that you may come to Louisiana hungry, but you’ll leave with your soul full of all the rewarding experiences we offer,” he said. “There is truly nowhere else in the world that can feed your soul like we can.”
Here are some other statistics he and local tourism officials offered today:
- Last year, 14.3 million airplane passengers traveled into and out of the state, up 6.7 percent from 2016. It was the first year of direct, international flights from London and Frankfurt, Germany, into Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans.
- In Terrebonne, visitors spent $189.5 million and supported 2,680 jobs in 2016, according to the latest figures available. People from 48 states and 33 countries visited.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows 236,300 jobs resulted from visitor spending in Louisiana in 2017. That means one of every 8.5 working adults in Louisiana is employed as a result of the tourism industry.
- Since 2007, tourism is the second fastest-growing job sector in Louisiana, increasing more than 20 percent since then and adding more than 40,000 jobs to the state’s workforce.