The Natchitoches Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Cane River National Heritage Area will honor Natchitoches’ Faces of Tourism at a Rally Thursday, May 11 at 3 pm at the Grand Ecore Visitors Center, located at 106 Tauzin Island Road. This event is free and open to the public.
The Rally is part of the 34th annual National Travel and Tourism Week, May 7-13, 2017, which unites communities across the country to celebrate what travel means to American jobs, economic growth and personal well-being.
Just look at the numbers. Travel and tourism generated $16.8 billion in domestic and international visitor spending in 2016 in the state of Louisiana, representing a 4.3 percent increase over 2015.
The theme of this year’s NTTW, “Faces of Tourism,” shines a spotlight on the people that make up America’s travel industry. Across Natchitoches, tourism employs a prosperous and diverse workforce, from hotel employees to restaurant, attractions, retail workers, and supports related sectors such as construction, manufacturing and finance.
“Natchitoches is hosting a rally to recognize the employees that work in the tourism industry,” said NACVB Executive Director Arlene Gould. “This is an opportunity to join communities across the nation in celebrating what tourism means. In our small community, we rely on tourism and we’re proud of the staff, employees and business owners that welcome visitors from around the world. They’re the individuals that really serve our guest and visitors.”
Gould first entered the world of tourism as a manager trainee at Mr. Gatti’s Restaurant on South Drive while she attended Northwestern State University and volunteered at the Natchitoches Welcome Center working with Betty Jones who was a mentor. She went on to become the Human Resources Manager at DoubleTree Hotel in New Orleans. This took her to Los Angeles where she worked as the HR Director at Le Meridien Hotel in Beverly Hills. Coming full circle she returned to Natchitoches as the Curator at Melrose Plantation before accepting a job at the Natchitoches CVB over 10 years ago.
In addition to its benefits for the local economy, travel can also have a positive effect on personal well-being for residents and visitors to Natchitoches. Numerous research studies have confirmed the positive health effects of travel and time off, from reducing the risk of heart disease to decreasing depression. Using time off to travel with family is good for everyone, especially our children. Kids who travel with their families are more likely to attend college and earn more as adults.