Louisiana State Parks Grow and Renew
The Louisiana Office of State Parks has spent nearly $80 million in major
construction projects since 2004, providing two brand-new parks and
a new historic site, adding cabins and campsites to existing parks
and building visitor center at one park, the preservation area
and three historic sites.
LT. GOVERNOR RELEASES ONE-YEAR REPORT ON LOUISIANA REBIRTH PLAN -- 09/07/2006
Office of Lieutenant Governor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 7, 2006
LT. GOVERNOR RELEASES ONE-YEAR REPORT ON LOUISIANA REBIRTH PLAN
Louisiana Rebirth Scorecard Showcases Current State of Tourism, Cultural Industries in Louisiana
Baton Rouge, La. -- Today, Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu provided a report on where
Louisiana's tourism and cultural industries stand in the effort to rebuild through the Louisiana Rebirth: Restoring the Soul of America strategic plan, which was unveiled a year ago.
The Lieutenant Governor was joined by industry leaders, including Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism Secretary Angéle Davis, tourism leaders from across the State of Louisiana, including members of convention and visitors bureaus and tourism and cultural economy stakeholders and members of the Louisiana Rebirth National Advisory Board.
"Restoring tourism, arts and culture is crucial to the continual recovery of Louisiana," Landrieu stated at the press conference held at the Shaw Center for the Arts in Baton Rouge. "After Katrina and Rita, the industry went into recovery mode instantly and our tourism and cultural industries, which bring in more than $9 billion annually, have helped lead the economic recovery of the state."
The Louisiana Rebirth: Restoring the Soul of America strategic plan is a four-point, results-driven program crucial to the recovery of Louisiana. The plan was developed two weeks after Hurricane Katrina made landfall when Landrieu invited stakeholders from across the state and national industry experts to create and unveil a strategic plan to guide the recovery of tourism and cultural industries. The four key results of the Rebirth plan are:
1. Rebuild Louisiana to worldwide preeminence as a top tourist destination.
2. Make Louisiana's Cultural Economy the engine for economic and social rebirth.
3. Build better lives and livelihoods than before for all Louisiana's people.
4. Make Louisiana's recovery the standard for high performance, accountability and ethical behavior.
For each result, the plan identifies strategies, ways to track results, next steps and ways to help.
The Louisiana Rebirth Scorecard was developed to track the progress of this strategic plan in terms of current efforts and short- and long-term goals. The full report is posted online at www.rebirthscorecard.org.
"The Louisiana Rebirth Scorecard was created to showcase that the state of Louisiana will recover bigger and better than before, but, more importantly, that the state's recovery will be transparent and the standard for high performance, accountability and ethical behavior," stated Angéle Davis, Secretary of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism.
Some of the highlights from the today's press conference included:
· Louisiana currently offers 70,000 available hotel rooms throughout the state. This number continues to grow daily, with a target of reaching the Pre-Katrina goal of 80,000.
· The numbers of available hotel rooms in Louisiana's most affected areas continues to increase daily.
- The New Orleans metropolitan area had 264 fully operational lodging facilities representing 38,000 hotel rooms prior to Hurricane Katrina. Today, 28,000 hotel rooms are available, with more opening daily.
- The Southwest Louisiana area had 69 fully operational lodging facilities representing 4,500 hotel rooms prior to Hurricane Rita. Today, 4,000 of those rooms are available.
· Louisiana Main Street communities report their job growth is back to Pre-Katrina and Rita levels.
- Prior to the storms, Main Street communities averaged 100 net new jobs per quarter; that number fell to 42 for the quarter ending December 2005. The June 2006 report shows 100 net new jobs in these communities.
· Commercial flights into the New Orleans metropolitan area are at 64% capacity of pre-Katrina levels. Continual, gradual growth is expected in this area.
- Today, 111 daily commercial flights operate into and out of New Orleans
· Traveler's intent to visit continues to rise, particularly in the regional markets, where intent to visit is within 6% of pre-storm levels.
- Pre-Katrina and pre-Rita, 21% of the nation's travelers and 53% of Louisiana's regional market expressed intent to travel to Louisiana in the next 24 months.
- Immediately after the storms, the national number dropped to 13% and the regional market number dropped to 37%.
- As of May 2006, the regional number has increased to 47%.
· Louisiana's Cultural Economy continues to serve as a significant piece of the rebuilding puzzle, providing a rich cultural experience to visitors and providing valuable jobs in the tourism industry.
- In a sample of 25 cultural attractions from communities damaged as a result of the hurricanes, 19 sites are now open full time, four sites are open with reduced hours and two sites have closed.
- In the same sample, visitation is increasing; in January 2006, those sites reported over 10,000 visitors. August 2006 shows 29,079 visitors.
· The Office of the Lieutenant Governor and the Department of Culture Recreation and Tourism have secured almost $50 million in much needed funds to assist Louisiana's tourism industry rebuild.
- $28.5 million tourism recovery grant program
- $1.3 million for Scenic Byways Program
- $12.5 million in disaster relief for historic property repair and preservation
- $5 million to community service programs through La Serve Commission
- $800,000 raised and $500,000 granted through Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation
To view the Louisiana Rebirth plan, please visit www.crt.state.la.us.