Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser highlights efforts to boost state’s tourism industry
ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser was the keynote speaker at Rotary on Nov. 22, where he touted the state’s efforts to grow Louisiana’s tourism industry post-pandemic.
One of the main challenges to the tourism industry in the state in recent years has been figuring out ways to overcome the impacts of COVID-19. Not only did the economy take a hit, but Louisiana has also had to compete with every other state in the nation to attract tourists and get the economy on the mend.
With the help of funding from the Louisiana legislature, Nungesser’s office has looked for creative ways to make that happen.
“All the teams around the state are working hard to get us back to record-breaking numbers in tourism, and we also want the whole state to realize the importance tourism is [to the state],” said Nungesser. “We treat strangers like they’re family, and that’s why they keep coming back. So, that message, everyone in Louisiana helps play a part in helping us build back our tourism industry.”
On top of updating Louisiana state parks and developing public-private partnerships like ‘glamping,’ the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Rose Parade have become pivotal events for the state’s tourism industry. Those parades point people back to the state for events like Mardi Gras in every corner of the state.
”We knew we had a big cliff to climb to get back to those record-breaking numbers with Macy’s Parade, Rose parade, the individual trips around the country and around the world, videos with ambassadors like Lauren Daigle and Lainey Wilson, Trombone Shorty and Jon Batiste,” explained Nungesser. “They just get people excited about coming here, and every time we do one of these performances, we see how much traffic goes to our website to book trips to Louisiana.”
It is not just parades and natural resources that keep the state’s tourism industry thriving. Nungesser argued education is essential to moving the economy forward.
For the state legislature and next governor, Nungesser said they must “stay the course” when it comes to education.
“If we don’t stand behind education in this state, we’ll never come off the bottom,” said Nungesser.
While Nungesser spent nearly five minutes talking about Louisiana’s next governor keeping education in focus, he has not yet made a decision on running for the office. He told Rotary members that he will make an announcement on his decision by the first of the year.
Following Rotary, Nungesser made his way over to Leo Street for a tour of Glass Act Recycling, a place in Central Louisiana trying to ‘Keep Louisiana Beautiful.’
Annie Collins, who founded the grassroots recycling project, began the project in her daughter’s garage. Now that project has moved to a large warehouse, where they collect around four tons of donated glassware a month to be recycled.
Nungesser’s visit allowed Collins to share her vision for the project, both now and for the future.
“He has so many more avenues that are open, places that we would not normally be able to get into,” said Collins. “But because he has those contacts, and he has more information than I have, and he knows how to connect the dots. It means more than we even know, even know. We have no idea how good this was.”
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