Nungesser: Tourism marketing efforts to help ‘every corner’ of the state – American Press

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Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser highlighted efforts to promote tourism in the state and continued plans emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic during a Senate Finance Committee meeting.

Nungesser said his office is asking for $20 million for tourism in the next budget, along with an additional $2 million for state parks and other one-time investments in Louisiana museums, to help spur tourism. State after the closures that resulted in local fundraising during the pandemic.

The money is going to a closed-door press to promote “every fair, festival and event in every corner of this state,” with a focus on helping Louisiana businesses recover from the pandemic, a Nungesser told the Senate committee on Wednesday.

“We know reopening is only part of what we need to do, but if restaurants, stores and attractions aren’t making money, they won’t,” he said. . “So we have to dig deep into every area of ​​the state and promote every event, because most of them don’t have money to promote.”

Nungesser said his proposed budget included about $7.5 million to fund services for the blind and disabled and Internet access at Louisiana public libraries due to shortfalls in other departments.

The lieutenant governor detailed returns from a wildly popular alligator float used in the Macy’s Day Parade, a three-year, $1.5 million advertisement in Times Square, and smaller investments to promote local attractions .

“We … added $1 million to promote swamp tours, museums, walking tours, all these little places in the state to keep people coming back to visit all of that. And we added another $1.5 million to fairs and festivals,” he said. “We found out that their budget has been stretched in the two years that they haven’t been able to hold their fundraising events, so we need to put more money in to fund those things.

“Things that normally stand on their own, like Jazz Fest, French Quarter Fest and Festival International, we have to be the sponsors of them due to the lack of corporate sponsors who usually help organize these events,” said Nungesser.

Event organizers need to secure funding in advance, “so we jumped in early to make sure all of these events were happening,” he said.

The department markets at airports, Times Square, train stations, taxis, buses and other locations across the country and internationally, and officials monitor advertisements to maximize returns, he said. .

The state has also focused on developing a civil rights route launched in 2019, with nine stops now recognized as part of the national civil rights route.

Nungesser also highlighted milestones and planned investments in state parks that are expected to generate significant revenue and provide other benefits.

“We saw our highest attendance at state parks in 10 years,” he said.

A new public-private partnership for horseback riding, glamping tents and mountain bike trails have helped the growth, along with direct sewer investments for campers, Nungesser said.

Officials hope to expand direct sewage to all state parks, he said, which would dramatically increase occupancy and generate “a few million dollars” in additional revenue by raising fares by $12. per day.

“A lot of retirees weren’t coming to our parks when we started because you had to bring your sewage to a station,” he said. “We’ve added…direct sewers, and those sites reserve immediately.” »

The department’s long-term vision is to partner with state and federal agencies to use the sites as temporary shelters during hurricanes or other natural disasters.

Nungesser also detailed other proposed improvements to museums and historic sites in the state, as well as efforts to promote Louisiana’s seafood industry.

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