BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser says tourism is back in Louisiana after the COVID-19 pandemic as he celebrates “record crowds” at the state’s most recent festivals.

“Tourism is coming back strong in Louisiana and our travel industry is poised to make significant strides following the challenges of the pandemic,” said Nungesser. “Mardi Gras was a huge success statewide and we have already seen record crowds at Louisiana springtime festivals such as the Strawberry Festival in Ponchatoula, the Scott Boudin Festival and French Quarter Festival,” added Lt. Governor Nungesser.

During his Monday State of Tourism address, Nungesser said 41 million visitors came to the state in 2021. He also noted an uptick in web traffic to LouisianaTravel.com, which saw a 162% increase from 2020 to 2021.

“After five years of consecutive record-breaking tourism numbers jumping to over 53 million in 2019 and the halt of tourism after Mardi Gras 2020, we are now seeing the hotels, restaurants, events, and festivals across the state spring back to life,” said Nungesser. “With a 29% increase over 2020, the announcement of increasing visitation again gives hope and encouragement to the tourism and hospitality industries who have persevered, once again ranking Louisiana in the top 10 desired destinations on many national travel sources.”

National Travel and Tourism Week is taking place from May 1-7 and this year’s theme, “The Future of Travel,” focuses on restoring the workforce within the travel industry, along with helping communities introduce new innovations, according to Nungesser’s office.

“The future of travel is opportunity. It’s the chance to rebuild our hospitality industry and welcome people from all over the world to enjoy our rich cultural heritage, unique and unforgettable cuisine and music,” said Nungesser.

He said tourism is the state’s fourth-largest employer, with over 250,000 people employed.

“People are eager to travel again and we are ready to welcome our domestic and international visitors with open arms,” said Doug Bourgeois, secretary of the Louisiana Office of Tourism. “Our continued success in attracting visitors to Louisiana requires coordinated teamwork between the Louisiana Office of Tourism and our tourism partners across the state.”

National Travel and Tourism Week stops:

Monday, May 2, 2022

Tangipahoa Parish Convention & Visitors Bureau Tourism Breakfast

13143 Wardline Road Hammond, LA  70401

7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

State of Tourism Address by Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser

Louisiana State Library

701 North 4th Street Baton Rouge, LA 

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Louisiana Seafood Celebration and Legislative Reception

Capitol Park Museum

660 N. 4th Street Baton Rouge, LA

5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

New Orleans & Co. Tourism Parade and Pep Rally

Tableau Restaurant Courtyard

616 St. Peter New Orleans, LA

8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

8:30 a.m. Press Conference

9:00 a.m. Parade Begins traveling to Woldenberg Park Capital One Pavilion

1 Canal Place New Orleans, LA

Visit Jefferson Parish Tourism Luncheon

Chateau Country Club

3600 Chateau Blvd. Kenner, LA

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism Ambassador Awards Luncheon

Lockport Recreation Center

5610 Highway 1 Lockport, LA

11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Ascension Parish Tourism Press Conference

Houmas House and Gardens

40136 LA 942 Darrow, LA

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.       

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Visit Lafayette Parish Tourism Breakfast

Cajundome Convention Center

444 Cajundome Blvd. Lafayette, LA

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Rapides Parish Tourism Awareness Lunch

Randolph Riverfront Center

707 2nd Street Alexandria, LA

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.        

Friday, May 6, 2022

Lincoln Parish

Louisiana Tech University

Davison Athletics Complex

1524 West Alabama Ave.  Ruston, LA

8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.           

Monroe – West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau Awards Luncheon

University of Louisiana at Monroe

Bayou Pointe

100 Warhawk Way Monroe, LA

11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.