SIGNIFICANT MILESTONE: LRA APPROVES $28.5 MILLION FOR TOURISM RECOVERY -- 07/06/2006
Office of Lieutenant GovernorFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 6, 2006
SIGNIFICANT MILESTONE: LRA APPROVES $28.5 MILLION FOR TOURISM RECOVERY
LG LANDRIEU: Tourism Recovery Helps Provide Jobs, Generate Tax Dollars
New Orleans, LA - Today, at a special board meeting, the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) passed a resolution approving $28.5 million to fund the Louisiana Tourism Marketing Program.
"We're talking about investing in small businesses, jobs and economic development - that's what tourism is," Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu said, as he fielded questions from LRA board members. "We are standing up the tourism industry so that we can provide jobs and put money back into the state and city coffers."
Negative images of Louisiana portrayed by the media in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita have resulted in a significant loss of interest in tourism, dramatically decreasing the number of tourism-related jobs. A recent study by Louisiana State University's Department of Economics showed that in 2004 there were 9,153 businesses in the travel and tourism industry alone. Post-storm figures showed that 1,409 travel and hospitality businesses had shut down after the storms, resulting in the loss of approximately 33,000 jobs.
"Significant loss of tourists means that the thousands of small businesses that make up the character of south Louisiana are at serious risk of closing very soon," said Angele Davis, Secretary of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism (DCRT). "Statistics show that advertising expenditures are tied to job growth."
A comparison of advertising expenditures to job growth in the tourism industry over the period from 1994 to 2005 has shown a highly significant, positive relationship between the two. Based on a recent regression analysis done for that period, using Louisiana Department of Labor data and historical advertising expenditures of DCRT, research models indicate that this positive correlation will continue.
The national tourism leaders who helped with the New York City rebound effort post-9/11 report that marketing is the key to rebuilding credibility with your customer base, which may now have fears about visiting the impacted areas. To date, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has provided the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation $10 million for tourism marketing projects and approximately $87 million for cultural development projects in order to help promote economic recovery and growth in the areas of Lower Manhattan most affected by terrorist attacks. The Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism recently completed an impact study that showed that Louisiana is losing ground because the State is not adequately countering negative images about New Orleans and Louisiana, which are still dominating local and national media. The State seeks to follow the example of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, utilizing an allocation of CDBG funds to revitalize Louisiana's tourism industries--bringing our second largest industry back.
Immediately after Hurricane Katrina, Landrieu brought together national and state leaders to develop a strategic plan - Louisiana Rebirth: Restoring the Soul of America - to guide the recovery of tourism and cultural industries. Speaking with one voice, the industries are hitting the marks established in this plan.
Prior to Katrina, the tourism industry made a $9.9 billion economic impact, accounted for 126,000 jobs and contributed $600 million in state and local tax revenues each year.