BATON ROUGE, La. – Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser announced 2017 as the sixth consecutive year of record-breaking tourism numbers in Louisiana. The state welcomed a record 47.1 million visitors in 2017, representing an increase of nearly 500,000 over the 46.7 million visitors reported by DK Shifflet in 2016. Those visitors spent $17.5 billion, or an average of $371 per person. The travel and tourism industry generated $1.8 billion in state and local sales tax revenue, an increase of 4.5 percent over the $1.7 billion in state and local sales tax revenue generated in 2016. This revenue represents a 37-to-1 return on investment of state funding. Tax revenue generated through travel and tourism spending saves each household in Louisiana $1,047 a year in taxes that would be needed to maintain current services.
"Six consecutive years of record-breaking visitation and spending, more than 236,000 jobs, and a 37-to-1 return are all reasons to continue investing in tourism,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “By increasing our promotion of Louisiana as a place where you can feed your soul, we can attract more visitors to our state which in turn means more state and local tax revenue we can generate. It all starts with continuing to invest in the efforts to promote Louisiana as a desirable tourism destination.”
“While a commitment to funding tourism is an important piece of the puzzle to celebrating six consecutive years of record-setting numbers, the key to making it happen is teamwork and dedication,” said Assistant Secretary Doug Bourgeois. “Lieutenant Governor Nungesser not only leads our efforts but constantly challenges our industry to do more. Through our partnerships and cooperative marketing programs with local tourism partners across the state, we have been able to promote Louisiana around the country and world to see this sixth consecutive year of record-breaking tourism numbers.”
Investing in tourism to promote and market Louisiana leads to thousands of direct and indirect jobs for the state. At the end of 2017, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows 236,300 jobs were the result of visitor spending in Louisiana, meaning 1 out of every 8.5 working adults in Louisiana is employed as a result of the tourism industry. Since 2007, tourism related employment is the second fastest-growing job sector in Louisiana, increasing more than 20 percent since 2007 and adding more than 40,000 jobs to the state’s workforce.
During the first year of direct, international flights from London and Frankfurt, Germany, into Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans, the state saw an increase in the number of passengers arriving and departing from Louisiana airports in 2017. Last year, a total of 14.3 million airplane passengers traveled into and out of the state, increasing 6.7 percent from 13.4 million in 2016.
2018 is poised for another record year in tourism as Lieutenant Governor Nungesser unveiled a new branding for the state in January – Louisiana: Feed Your Soul – to convey to the world that no other state can offer the incredible bounty of food, music, history, and culture that Louisiana can. “This exciting new brand will offer travelers a new outlook – that you may come to Louisiana hungry, but you’ll leave with your soul full of all the rewarding experiences we offer. There is truly nowhere else in the world that can feed your soul like we can,” said Lt. Governor Nungesser.