There's optimism when it comes to conquering the pandemic. The tourism industry here in Louisiana has been hit particularly hard. In fact, when you only consider canceled conventions, business organizations, and sporting events that didn't happen, the losses are staggering.
Ben Berthelot, President and CEO of the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission (LCVC), says our region failed to fill 57,000 hotel room nights. He goes on to say, "That's about a $65 million economic loss to our area and that's a significant hit."
Berthelot continued to say that a recent study indicated that more than half of travelers still say they'd feel guilty getting on an airplane and freely traveling while mitigation efforts are still in place. But LCVC revamped their efforts to steer tourists back to Lafayette and Acadiana as locations reopened. They've focused more on promoting the area on digital and social media platforms.
"Fortunately, our area has a lot of outdoor activities, and that's what we're seeing people really responding to. Such as the ability to go to a place like Vermilionville and walk outside." Berthelot added that Bayou Vermilion, Lake Martin, and the Atchafalaya Basin are great places to visit, while remaining socially distant.
Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser has really been relying on "Staycations" for the past few years, and it's more important than every to see things in your own back yard. Berthelot also said, "Louisiana really has a lot to offer, and there's a lot of areas we haven't seen in other parts of the state. So, staycations are something we should be doing all the time!"