How Lafayette plays in rising tourist numbers - KLFY News 10

How Lafayette plays in rising tourist numbers

Louisiana has seen a rise in tourism for 2013. Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne outlined the figures from a study conducted by the University of New Orleans.

The visitor numbers were impressive with $807 million in tax revenue for the state, $10.8 billion in visitor spending and $23.7 million tourists to cities, festivals and outdoor activities in Louisiana. Tourism numbers spiked thanks to a Crescent City Superbowl but while New Orleans may be driving the bus, tourists are hopping off at other stops.

Ben Berthelot, President and CEO of the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Center said, “A lot of times people want to get outside of New Orleans and experience something a little more genuine and unique and that's where places like Acadiana and Lafayette come into play. The group tour business Lafayette is probably the second biggest tour destination.

"While there are no director numbers of how many fresh feet crossed the threshold in Acadiana, Berthelot said their indicator is hotel/motel receipts.“In 2013 hotel/motel receipts were a little over $79. That’s a five percent increase from 2012.”Music, culture and of course food is Lafayette and Acadiana’s biggest draw. Restaurant business booms during peak tourist seasons, doubling revenues during Mardi Gras, Christmas and summertime.

Stephen McCall, a 8-year waiter veteran at the Blue Dog Café said he has played tour guide for many wanting the full Acadiana experience.“You send them downtown, or to the swamps tours, even the UL (Lafayette) campus,” said McCall. Berthelot said on the heels of Festival International de Louisiana, 2014 is already looking to be a lucrative year for Lafayette.

“Tourism is fun but tourism is a business and when it is doing well, so is our economy.”
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