By: Shannon Roberts
The Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau held its annual Partners in Tourism Awards Luncheon on Friday in celebration of National Tourism Week. Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, on the last leg of a statewide journey, spoke at the luncheon, highlighting tourism statistics. Nearly 30 million people visited Louisiana in 2015 and spent $11.6 billion, generating $843 million in state tax revenue – “taxes you and I didn’t have to pay you,” Nungesser said. He said a team of tourism officials recently spent a week in Canada promoting Louisiana. “We’ve got so much to sell and offer, but the thing I learned in Canada, that we all knew, it’s our people,” Nungesser said. “It’s our people that have that love and passion for selling (each part of our state).” About 40 percent of the international visitors who come to Louisiana are Canadian, he said. “They really do love our French heritage, our culture, swamp tours,” he said. “And that’s an incredible amount from one market that we need to make sure we increase. He said New Orleans will host the IPW convention in June, attracting 6,000 delegates from 73 countries. The Partner of the Year award was presented to the Great Acadian Awakening Music Fest, which took place in October. The volunteers were presented with engraved plates.