Tourists returning to Natchitoches as economy reopens
Abundance of outdoor space allows for socially distant site-seeing
NATCHITOCHES, La. (KALB) - Last year tourism put more than 1,300 people to work in Natchitoches, representing $36 million in worker paychecks, according to the Natchitoches Convention and Visitors Bureau. The CVB says that more than 43,000 travelers brought in about $7 million worth of economic impact for the local community in 2019. However, the 2020 numbers are likely to look a lot different because of COVID-19.
The Natchitoches CVB says the town hasn’t been hit as hard as other places in Louisiana due its more rural location and the ability for tourists to have plenty of open outdoor space to enjoy while social distancing. Most festivals this year have been canceled or rescheduled though. However, some - like the car show - are on the schedule again for the fall months.
The CVB says that after a couple of quiet months, they’re happy to see that tourists are now trickling into town again, helping to support the local businesses that have had a rough year. “Bringing tourists back into town, especially in Natchitoches, I mean our whole historic district, our boutique shops, our restaurants - while yes they are local supported...tourists really help keep them alive and keep them open and so bringing tourists back was certainly a major push for us and for the city as a whole, and we have seen tourists come back,” says CVB marketing director Kelli M. West.
Plans are underway for this year’s Natchitoches Christmas Festival. Organizers say it’s scheduled to take place in December, but they are closely watching COVID trends before announcing any detailed plans.
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