Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Parish celebrates National Tourism Day May 11

    Representatives from local attractions will celebrate National Tourism Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, May 11 at the St. Landry Parish Visitor Information, I-49 exit 23, just north of Opelousas. The event is part of National Travel and Tourism Week, an annual, travel promotion event that’s been in existence since 1984. 
    Participants in Friday’s event include the Opelousas Museum and Interpretive Center, Louisiana Orphan Train Museum, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve’s Prairie Acadian Cultural Center in Eunice, Washington Museum and Tourist Information Center and others. Participants will have tables with materials focusing on their attractions and cities. 
    Admission is free and the public is invited to attend. 
    The first full week of May has been recognized as National Travel and Tourism Week since Congress passed a joint resolution in 1983. The following year, President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation urging citizens to observe the week with “the appropriate ceremonies and activities.” 
    According to the U. S. Travel Association, tourism is one of America’s largest employers, supporting 14.4 million jobs. In Louisiana: 
  • More than 1 million visitors were greeted at Louisiana Welcome Centers in 2010. These visitors could fill the Superdome 17 times. 
  • Domestic and international visitors spent $9.3 billion in Louisiana in 2010. $9 billion would buy about 380 pounds of andouille for every state resident. 
  • 24.6 million people visited Louisiana in 2010, which would fill LSU’s Tiger Stadium 260 times. 
  • Each Louisiana household would have to pay $510 more in state taxes without revenue generated by travel and tourism. 
    In 2010, St. Landry Parish saw $92 million in domestic travel expenditures, supported 630 jobs and added $2.63 million local taxes. The total, a 4.53% percent increase from 2009, ranks St. Landry 16th out of the state’s 64 parishes in travel expenditures. 
    In general, the tourism industry: 
  • Supports all businesses in a local economy. 
  • Adds diversity to economies. 
  • Creates jobs that are rarely outsourced. 
  • Provides local taxes that improve roads and services for local citizens. 
  • Fosters the preservation of local culture and traditions. 
    For more information on Tourism Week, contact the St. Landry Parish Tourist Commission at (337) 948-8004 or visit www.cajuntravel.com. Events are also listed on Facebook at St. Landry Parish – It’s Gumbo for Your Soul and Twitter @StLandryParish. Videos are online at www.youtube.com/StLandryParish.

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