Natchitoches Celebrates the ‘Future of Travel’

Recognition was given to front line workers in the travel and tourism industry. Pictured are Scott Williams, Logan Schlatre, Gabby Scarborough, Belinda Friday, Kimberly Rollins, Barbara Justice, Jeremy McCormic, Arlene Gould, and Sidney Frederick.

National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), the annual celebration of the contributions of the U.S. travel industry, will spotlight the critical role that travel will play in driving economic growth and building the path forward through the theme “Future of Travel.”

This year’s theme elevates how the travel industry can restore the workforce, help communities recover, foster sustainability, usher in new innovations and reconnect travelers in the U.S. and around the world.

Celebrated annually the first full week in May, NTTW was created by Congress in 1983 to elevate the economic power of travel in the U.S. The 39th annual NTTW (May 1-7) arrives as the industry looks ahead to future growth and success following the challenges of the past two years. 

“NTTW has special significance this year as the travel industry looks ahead to a bright future,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “This NTTW is an opportunity to recognize the collective strength of the U.S. travel industry and how we are rebuilding to be more dynamic, innovative, sustainable and inclusive in the months and years to come.

“Before the pandemic, travel generated $2.6 trillion in economic output, supported 17 million American jobs and delivered a $51 billion trade surplus to the U.S. —evidence of the outsized role the industry will play in driving America’s recovery and future economic growth,” added Dow.

In Natchitoches, the celebration started Friday morning, April 29, with a breakfast held at Lasyone’s to provide a travel and tourism update and present awards of recognition to the front line workers, such as breakfasts hostesses, innkeepers, tour guides, wait staff, and others who keep Natchitoches a hospitable and charming destination.

“When these front line workers roll out the welcome mat,” said Arlene Gould, Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director, “visitors notice and not only want to return but go home and tell their friends and family about their experience.”

Award recipients included:

  • Logan Schlatre – Cane River National Heritage Area
  • Jeremy McCormic – Fort St. Jean Baptiste SHS
  • Tommy Adkins – Melrose Plantation
  • Scotty Williams – Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame & Northwest Louisiana History Museum
  • Barbara Justice – Cane River Creole National Historical Park
  • Kimberly Rollins – Sweet Cane Inn
  • Belinda Friday – Best Western
  • Gabby Scarborough – Cane River Commissary
  • Ebony Price – Comfort Suites
  • Jan Frederick (given posthumously) – tour guide, caterer, B&B owner, Tourist Commissioner

Natchitoches Tourism’s social media channels will highlight all aspects of Natchitoches’ local travel and tourism industry from May 1-7 which has been proclaimed National Travel & Tourism Week in Natchitoches by the City of Natchitoches.

Northwestern State University will also be lighting the Column’s red in honor of NTTW and in support of the Hospitality Management and Tourism Program offered by the University.

Gould said, “The Natchitoches CVB is planning for a future that that will strengthen Natchitoches’ tourism industry and economy. This National Travel and Tourism Week, we are spotlighting how travel benefits our workforce, supports our local economy, fosters sustainability and innovations, and reconnects Americans to each other and the world.”