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Tourism in Lafayette Parish is booming

Posted at 8:55 PM, Feb 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-21 22:38:31-05

Lafayette Parish is expected to make millions as about 15,000 visitors from across the state make their way here this weekend.

Mardi Gras revelers, Beta students, student-athletes and their families will be staying overnight for a series of competitions in the area.

All of this tourism has a major impact on the local economy.

The Louisiana Junior Beta Convention, a cheer competition, the LHSSA Soccer State Championship, and other soccer tournaments are all happening this weekend in Lafayette, Broussard and Youngsville.

“It’s a great example and realization of the power of tourism in driving economic impact in the community. We have 15,000 visitors who are going to be sleeping in our hotels, eating in our restaurants, shopping at our retail stores,” said Lafayette Travel President and CEO Ben Berthelot.

Berthelot says most of the people coming to these events are from outside the parish, which will bring new money to the local economy.

“While we certainly cheer for our local teams, it’s better, from a tourism standpoint, when our locals are not involved because that means more teams coming in and staying in our hotels.”

The president of Lafayette Travel estimates this weekend’s festivities will generate roughly $4 million, and because of all the events happening here and other places throughout the parish, hotel rooms are close to selling out.

“If you don’t have a room yet for tonight or tomorrow night, it’s going to be really hard to find one,” said Amber Slinin, Director of Sales at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Hotels in the city like the Hilton Garden Inn sold out months ago.

“Most of these events are city-wide sellouts, so we tend to be the ones that fill up first,” said Slinin.

Berthelot and Lafayette businesses hope that this kind of tourism sticks around in the future.

“The City of Lafayette has been really good about bringing business here and getting things in the pipeline, so hopefully this will be something that will stay,” said Slinin.

“This week is the epitome of what I would like to have 52 weeks out of the year, and that’s what drives us and what will continue to drive us because it’s such a huge impact on our community,” said Berthelot.