Louisiana  Pick Your Passion! Travel Pulse Office of Tourism Update
September 19, 2014
Travel South Showcase registration is now open

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015, Travel South USA is announcing that registration for its annual Travel South Domestic Showcase in Shreveport-Bossier is open for all delegates. Early registration for tour operators has gone exceedingly well, netting 50 operators six months in advance of the show. Missouri has joined the 11 other Southern states that compose Travel South USA, bringing new destinations to the table for buyers to get to know.

A staple in the Southern tourism scene since the 1980s, Travel South Showcase brings together qualified tour operators, Southern tourism entities and nationally recognized travel media for three days of appointments, networking and fun. Travel South Showcase is the only regional, appointment-style marketplace focused solely on the cultural, musical, artistic and culinary heritage of the South.

The Louisiana Office of Tourism, Shreveport-Bossier CTB, and Travel South USA invite Southern tourism entities to register now, come make some great friends, network and enjoy the Louisiana hospitality.

Louisiana delegates signing the bilateral agreement with the Province of New Brunswick. From left: Roger Duval, executive director of Francophonie and international relations for the Province of New Brunswick, New Brunswick Premier David Alward, Louisiana State Senator Eric Lafleur and CODOFIL President William Arceneaux.
Louisiana delegates signing the bilateral agreement with the Province of New Brunswick. From left: Roger Duval, executive director of Francophonie and international relations for the Province of New Brunswick, New Brunswick Premier David Alward, Louisiana State Senator Eric Lafleur and CODOFIL President William Arceneaux.
  Louisiana delegation attends World Acadian Congress in Canada
KPLC-TV - A Louisiana delegation recently joined French speakers from throughout the world at the Congrès Mondial Acadian, or World Acadian Congress 2014, held in Quebec, New Brunswick and Maine. The event, which honored Acadian heritage and culture, began Aug. 8 and ran through Aug. 23. On Aug. 15, all Acadian nations were celebrated at La Fête Nationale. Acadians in Louisiana were specially noted during Louisiana Day, an event set up by Louisiane-Acadie and sponsored by the Office of Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne. The Louisiana delegation, led by William Arceneaux, president of the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana, was present at the signing of a bilateral agreement with the Province of New Brunswick. The document serves as an establishment of new initiatives in education, tourism and economic interests between Louisiana and New Brunswick.

ABA Top 100 Events   Four Louisiana events make ABA's 2015 Top 100
Four annual Louisiana events-Mardi Gras and the Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Mardi Gras on Bayou Lafourche in Raceland and Shreveport's Mudbug Madness-have been named to the American Bus Association's Top 100 annual events list for 2015. ABA motorcoach and tour operator members selected winners from hundreds of group travel-friendly festivals and events throughout the U.S. and Canada. The Top 100 list garners media attention from outlets such as USA Today and CNN, and honorees are also featured in 10,000 copies of ABA's official magazine that is distributed to its members and travelers worldwide.

SCMA delegates tour Shreveport-Bossier   SCMA delegates tour Shreveport-Bossier
The Shreveport Times - The South Central Motorcoach Association held its annual regional meeting and marketplace at the Shreveport Convention Center in August, where about 100 delegates experienced a bonus taste of the Red River's twin cities at the event's closing. The Shreveport-Bossier CTB took the group on a tour focusing on the area's culinary offerings and notable attractions. Stops included Bossier City's Silver Star Smokehouse & Saloon, The Outlets at the Louisiana Boardwalk, Shreveport's Fertitta's Delicatessen and Great Raft Brewing.

STS Top 20 Events   STS Top 20 Events for April - June
Southeast Tourism Society chooses the Top 20 Events for each month and publishes its list of winners quarterly. Nominations are accepted from STS members and non-member organizations. STS strongly encourages entrants to support their nominations by providing supporting material such as photos, posters, brochures, news releases, news clippings and volunteer programs. Nominated events must have an attendance of at least 1,000 people and be in the third year of existence. There is a $20 entry fee required per event. The deadline to nominate events that occur in April, May or June 2015 is Friday, Oct. 3.

New Orleans is a fall travel best   Travel + Leisure names New Orleans a fall travel best
Travel + Leisure recently included New Orleans in a list the best U.S. cities for fall travel. In addition to citing reduced humidity and thinner crowds, author Katrina Brown Hunt listed notable New Orleans festivals in October and November and New Orleans Saints tailgating as must-dos for the fall visitor. New York, Boston, Chicago, Denver and Nashville, Tenn., also made the list.

Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site, St. Francisville
Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site, St. Francisville
  St. Francisville a best U.S. day trip, says Fodor's
Antebellum plantations and antique shopping make St. Francisville one of the best day trips in the U.S., according to Fodor's Travel. Suggested day trip stops include The Myrtles and Greenwood plantations and the Louisiana State Penitentiary Museum in nearby Angola.

Dixie Theater, Ruston
Dixie Theater, Ruston
  Ruston among USA Today's most charming small southern towns
Local revitalization and numerous outdoor activities led USA Today to crown Ruston one of the most charming small towns in the South. Author Carri Wilbanks described Ruston as "an eclectic mix of hip, artsy districts as well as a large historic downtown."

Downtown Covington, St. Tammany Parish
Downtown Covington, St. Tammany Parish
  St. Tammany Parish profiled in
Where to Retire

St. Tammany Parish received high ratings as a seniors destination in the Where to Retire September/October issue. The five-page article offered details on local offerings, in addition to positive testimonials from both residents and the article's author, Danny Heitman. "The parish has an upscale feel, with art galleries and white-tablecloth restaurants, horse farms and golf courses and sailboats and boutique breweries," Heitman said. Quick facts with retiree-relevant information like cost of living, health care options and local tax assessments were also included.

Group bookings to drive highest lodging occupancy levels in 20 years   Group bookings to drive highest lodging occupancy levels in 20 years
Lodging forecasters predict that anticipated 2014 occupancy gains may set the stage for what could be a 20-year high for U.S. occupancy levels in 2015, Travel Daily News recently reported. A new PricewaterhouseCoopers forecast says travel in the second quarter of 2014 increased more than expected and average daily rates were less than expected. Commercial and leisure travel continues to show gains, while hoteliers reported both a robust summer travel season and stronger group travel trends. PwC predicts a 7.6 percent increase in revenue per available room for 2014, and a 64.8 percent increase in industry-wide occupancy levels in 2015, the highest since 1995, giving hotel operators more confidence to increase room rates.

Booking via mobile apps   Consumer Trends 2014: Explosion in mobile bookings
According to the 2014 Travel Weekly Consumer Trends 2014 survey, the percentage of travelers who have used a mobile device to purchase travel surged from 23 percent in 2012 to 38 percent in 2014. "We're seeing such an acceleration of the shift from desktop shopping and booking to mobile devices," Norm Rose, senior technology analyst for PhoCusWright and president of Travel Technology Consulting, said. PhoCusWright's studies suggest that consumers are using their mobile devices more for shopping than for booking travel. However, bookings are rising, with hotels and car rentals leading the way. Rose predicts that by the end of 2014, 50 percent of Americans will have booked some kind of travel product on a mobile device.

Official Louisiana Tourism YouTube web page
Official Louisiana Tourism YouTube web page
  Views of travel-related YouTube videos more than double in one year
Skift - Travel brands investing significant amounts of money into video content will be happy to hear new statistics recently released by Google. Sixty-seven percent of travel-related views on YouTube are for branded or professionally released video, according to Google. The report found that uploads of travel-related videos, both professional and community generated, grew by 190 percent between 2012 and 2013. Growth in travel video uploads outpaces those of other major categories on YouTube.

Government Services Administration   Federal per diem rates unchanged for 2015
Successful Meetings - Federal employees will have the same business travel budgets in 2015 as they had in 2014, according to the General Services Administration, which recently published FY 2015 travel per diem rates for the continental U.S. GSA sent a bulletin to heads of federal agencies stating that the standard continental U.S. lodging rate will remain at $83 for FY 2015, while meals and incidental expense tiers will continue to range from $46 to $71.

Upcoming Meetings & Events   Upcoming meetings & events

If you have comments or suggestions for future issues of Louisiana Travel Pulse, contact Jay Tusa at jtusa@crt.la.gov or 225.342.8142.

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