LG LANDRIEU ON THE TOURISM INDUSTRY'S VITAL ROLE IN THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY OF LA -- 12/08/2005
Office of Lieutenant GovernorFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 8, 2005
LG LANDRIEU ON THE TOURISM INDUSTRY'S VITAL ROLE IN THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY OF LA
Baton Rouge, LA - Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu issued the following statement:
"Immediately after Hurricane Katrina, and then Rita, our tourism and hospitality industry united at a local, state and national level. Louisiana's tourism industry is a pivotal piece of our overall economy, and we cannot rebuild and diversify our economy without the strong return on investment that this industry brings to the state.
"In an effort to speak with one voice, I have communicated with the Governor's office, the Louisiana Recovery Authority, the Mayor's Office and the Mayor's commission. In October, we brought the Mayor and the Governor together with the leaders of the tourism and hospitality industry to brief them on our issues and to discuss our strategies to stand up the industry. Last week the Louisiana Recovery Authority adopted our Louisiana Rebirth mission and plan. My office will continue to lead our tourism and cultural recovery efforts by working together and communicating with elected, business and community leaders at the local, state and federal levels. I will continue to urge everybody to communicate, cooperate and operate with one unified voice.
"The tourism industry has done this. Working together on a daily basis, our collective forces have gotten this industry ready to begin creating economic revenue for the city and the state. Our office is making significant investments in an advertising campaign that promotes the parts of the state that are open for business. In addition, the private sector partners in the tourism and hospitality industry have invested approximately $2 billion to rebuild, without any support from Congress to-date.
"The Travel Industry of America and the Tourism Business Roundtable, two powerful national organizations, reached out to us immediately. Throughout this process, they have been strong partners in our efforts to assist displaced hospitality workers and in support of our Congressional relief effort.
"We have been working to provide housing for Louisiana citizens who work in the tourism industry so we can open up the hotels and restaurants in New Orleans and begin to host events, put people back to work and provide much needed tax revenue for the city and the state. Our goal as an industry is to create revenue for the city so that Mayor Nagin and the City Council can make the important decisions they need to make about rebuilding our cities infrastructure in order to bring our citizens back. We will continue to do our part to build an industry that provides jobs for our citizens and supports our economy.
"Within this context, as we consider Mardi Gras 2006 we understand very clearly that collectively as a people, Louisianans are at an agonizing point in time and place. We have lost our loved ones. We have lost our communities, our livelihoods and our possessions. We are grieving all that is lost and working to rebuild our home.
"Some have questioned why would we host a Mardi Gras celebration this year when many people are still not able to return to their homes or when an election cannot occur. While some may look at Mardi Gras as merely a party, I see it as a much needed economic engine that creates jobs and provides revenue through taxes that will allow the city to implement plans that are vital to bringing citizens home again sooner than later.
"It is my opinion that Mardi Gras 2006 should go on because it is an important part of our effort to create jobs and rebuild the economy. Ultimately, it is the Mayor's decision alone to hold Mardi Gras - not the tourism industry or any other civic, community or elected leader. We encourage him to send a decisive message to the nation that Mardi Gras is an important part of our efforts to rebuild New Orleans and Louisiana's economy."