The State of Louisiana Sees Tremendous Success at the 2008 Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival -- 12/17/2008
Office of Lieutenant GovernorFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 17, 2009
The State of Louisiana Sees Tremendous Success at the 2008 Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival
Baton Rouge, La. -- More than 485,000 international travelers visited the "My Louisiana" Experience during the 45 days of the 2008 Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival.
In addition to the 485,000 guests who visited the attraction, Louisiana's cultural ambassadors, representing each area of the state, distributed more than 113,000 Louisiana-branded Mardi Gras beads and 48,000 recipe cards.
In addition, more than 63,000 email addresses were gathered at the Festival from guests requesting further information on travel to Louisiana. These individuals make up a new affinity group - Friends of Louisiana at Epcot. The state will be developing a special Internet marketing campaign to continue to engage these potential visitors to visit Louisiana.
The final statistics were presented to Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu recently where he applauded the state's effort and success.
"The success of the 'My Louisiana' Experience has surpassed all of our goals," said Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu. "The pavilion allowed our cultural ambassadors to engage in one-on-one discussions with travelers from all over the world. I believe we have and will continue to see a remarkable effect on tourism resulting from this project."
Other highlights from the Festival included:
This marked the 13th year of the festival, which is hailed as one of the largest and longest-running food and wine festivals in the world and ranked as one of the best food and wine festivals in the United States by Forbes Magazine. This year's festival was held from Friday, September 26 to Sunday, November 9.
This year, the festival honored the state with an experience dedicated to Louisiana culture and heritage. It was the only U.S. state-dedicated marketplace experience at this year's festival.
"The Epcot Food & Wine Festival provided the perfect backdrop for Louisiana to showcase everything we have to offer our visitors," stated Pam Breaux, Secretary, Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. "The impact this project has made on our cultural economy is tremendous and now we look forward to welcoming all of those visitors to experience that culture here in Louisiana."
The "My Louisiana" Experience featured a food and beverage kiosk, an artisan area, cooking demonstrations, entertainment, children's activities and a merchandise and artisan shop modeled after the French Market. The Experience was custom-built by Walt Disney Imagineering to offer visitors a sensory experience of Louisiana's unique culture and heritage.
The Louisiana food and beverage kiosk was one of the top five selling food kiosks of the Festival, serving crawfish ettouffe, seafood gumbo and bread pudding to the majority of Festival guests.
More than $24,000 worth of Louisiana merchandise was sold throughout the 45 days of the Festival and Louisiana artisans sold more than $52,000 worth of their artworks during the Festival. Highlights included:
The State of Louisiana partnered with corporate and governmental agency sponsors, as well as tourism industry stakeholders from all areas of Louisiana. A truly public-private partnership, this endeavor was the first large-scale project the state has implemented which the entire state's tourism industry supported with both energy, time and dollars.
In follow-up surveys with our Louisiana cultural ambassadors, comments included:
"My time there ay Epcot was a fantastic experience. To be able to speak one on one with tourists, letting them know that we are up and running and open for business and to hear that they can't wait to come visit us was an extreme joy."
"I feel confident the entire state will benefit from this experience for years to come."
Sub-sponsors for the "My Louisiana" Experience include Abita Brewing Company, Louisiana Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus, Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry, Louisiana Economic Development, Louisiana Travel Promotion Association, Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board and TABASCO®.
Additional sub-sponsors from the tourism industry across Louisiana include Alexandria/Pineville Convention & Visitors Bureau, Arts & Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana, Ascension Parish Tourist Commission, Avoyelles Parish Tourist Commission, Baton Rouge Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Bossier Parish Police Jury, Caddo Parish Commission, Cajun Coast Visitors and Convention Bureau, Cameron Parish Tourist Commission, City of Alexandria, City of Bossier City, City of Pineville, City of Shreveport, Greater Alexandria Economic Development Authority, Iberia Parish Convention & Visitors Bureau, Iberville Parish Tourist Commission, Jeff Davis Parish Tourist Commission, Jefferson Convention and Visitors Bureau, Inc., Lafayette Convention & Visitors Commission, Lafourche Parish Tourist Commission, Lake Charles / Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau, Livingston Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau, Monroe-West Monroe Convention & Visitors Bureau, Natchitoches Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, Paragon Casino Resort, Pointe Coupee Parish Office of Tourism, River Parishes Tourist Commission, Ruston Lincoln Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau, Sabine Parish Tourist and Recreation Commission, Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau, St. Bernard Parish Government Office of Tourism, St. Landry Parish Tourist Commission, St. Martin Parish Tourist Commission, St. Tammany Parish Tourist & Convention Commission, Tangipahoa Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau, Vermilion Parish Tourist Commission, Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau, West Baton Rouge Convention and Visitors Bureau and West Feliciana Tourist Commission.
For more information on Louisiana and traveling to the state can be found at www.louisianatravel.com.