The Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau led Natchitoches’ travel and tourism community on May 15 during Travel Rally Day in support of the many ways travel contributes to the community.
The travel rally was part of the 36th annual National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), which unites communities across the country to celebrate how travel matters to American jobs, economic growth and personal well-being. The rally was held at Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site.
The theme of this year’s NTTW, “Travel Matters,” highlights the innumerable ways in which travel makes up the fabric of Natchitoches’ culture and economy.
“Just look at the numbers. According to the Louisiana Office of Tourism Economic Impact on Parishes, travel supports 1,370 jobs and $36 million in worker paychecks right here in Natchitoches Parish,” said Arlene Gould, Natchitoches Parish Tourist Commission Executive Director. “This week, we are celebrating travel’s powerful impact on our community. We’re calling on everyone—from elected officials to all of our local friends and neighbors—to join us in saluting this important industry, and to support pro-travel legislation at the local, state and national level.”
“In every pocket of America—from the largest cities to the smallest towns—travel matters,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “I, like so many others, got my start in the travel industry, and it shaped my life in ways I could have never imagined. This National Travel and Tourism Week, we’re celebrating how travel powers our economies, strengthens our communities, and changes our lives.”
From bed and breakfasts to conference hotels, travel employs a diverse workforce in Natchitoches:
1,370 jobs are supported by travel and tourism in Natchitoches.
Travel and tourism generates $12.6 in state and local tax revenue for Natchitoches.
These local figures are an important part of travel’s economic importance nationwide.
Travel is a $2.4 trillion industry in the U.S.
These visitors support 15.6 million American jobs—roughly 8.8 million direct travel jobs, and 6.8 million indirect jobs.
Travel-related spending generated $164.7 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue in 2017.
“I have seen firsthand how much travel matters to our community,” said Kelli West, Natchitoches Parish Tourist Commission Marketing Director. “With $97 million in tourism spending in 2018 and visitors from across the United States and abroad, I’m proud of Natchitoches, and eager to welcome even more visitors here to show them why we love Natchitoches so much.”
The Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau also recognized several groups in the area who have worked tirelessly to make Natchitoches and its tourism economy grow to what it is today while being the Unsung Heroes of Tourism. Recognized were the City of Natchitoches’ Utility Department, Public Works Department, and Horticulture Department; St. Augustine Historical Society; and the Cane River Waterway Commission.
“Visitors come into the Information Center and compliment the City on the flowers and landscaping,” said Gould. “The flowers, plants and trees are like a welcome mat into our community.
The Natchitoches Christmas Festival of Lights is recognized annually for its beauty and activity. Without the tireless work of the utility department to create the set pieces, hang the lights, and keep the city lit, we would not see the accolades that we do for the Festival.
Another aspect that visitors compliment the City is the quick cleanup after festivals. You attend a festival downtown on Saturday and when you drive through on Sunday morning, it is clean and no sign of trash. That is thanks to our hard workers in the public works department.”
The St. Augustine Historical Society was recognized for its contributions to keeping the Creole story alive, maintaining the historical property, and for its celebration of the Creole culture each year during their Creole Festival.
The Cane River Waterway Commission was recognized for its contributions to keeping the Cane River maintained and for its support of events and activities along the river, specifically its contributions to the downtown riverbank development.
To learn more about Natchitoches’ travel and tourism product, please visit our event page online at Natchitoches.com or visit the Natchitoches Information Center, located at 780 Front Street, Suite 100.