Chelsey Sharplin, Lauryn Sharplin and Jill Leo graduate from Louisiana Tourism Leadership Academy

The Louisiana Travel Association (LTA) celebrated the graduation of Chelsey and Lauryn Sharplin , of Sharpco Hotels Group, and Jill Leo, with Natchitoches Historic District Business Association, from the Louisiana Tourism Leadership Academy (LTLA) at the association’s 2020 Annual Meeting in Charenton.

The 22 members of the LTLA class spent all of 2019 developing their leadership skills while learning from seasoned professionals from throughout the tourism industry. The goal of the program is to equip each class member with knowledge and skills that will enrich their tourism-related organizations, therefore strengthening the state-wide tourism industry.

“I’m excited to graduate as part the Louisiana Tourism Leadership Academy class of 2019,” said Chelsey Sharplin. “I was exposed to a lot of new ideas and learned so much from established leaders in the tourism industry.” Lauryn Sharplin reiterated that statement, “LTLA was an incredibly fun learning opportunity. Not only did we gain knowledge about tourism, we did it while traveling across our great state seeing everything Louisiana has to offer. And we got to do it with an amazing group of professionals.” Jill Leo added, “Networking with key tourism leaders has been one of my most valuable experiences to date. “

Members of the class also gave back to the tourism community by selecting businesses within the industry for pro-bono projects. Collectively, the value of the class’ tourism product enhancement and marketing work exceeded $100,000.

“LTLA has been a tremendous opportunity for those interested in learning more about Louisiana’s tourism industry, and we are proud of the 2019 graduating class,” said Jill Kidder, LTA President and CEO. “Not only has this program individually benefited these emerging leaders, but the LTLA class projects are paying off significant dividends for the entire industry.”

About the Louisiana Travel Association

LTA is a trade association leading and strengthening Louisiana’s vibrant tourism industry through promotion, education and advocacy on behalf of our members. Tourism generated $1.9 billion for Louisiana in 2018 and employs more than 237,200 people throughout the state. For more information, visit

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