Alexandria, La. (February 3, 2022)—Kyle Edmiston, President/CEO of Visit Lake Charles was recently honored with the Marion “Butch” Fox Advocacy Award by the Louisiana Travel Association (LTA) at the annual meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 2. This award is presented to a member of LTA that goes above and beyond to advocate for the LA tourism industry.
Throughout Kyle Edmiston’s career in tourism, he has worked in legislative realms and advocated for the hospitality industry. When the wall of challenges started closing in on the tourism sector in the spring of 2020 with the pandemic forcing shutdowns and widespread economic loss, Kyle took action and used his depth of legislative experience to solve problems.
Even with the cavalcade of natural disasters that rocked Southwest Louisiana in the fall of 2020 along with the Visit Lake Charles’ headquarters being uninhabitable, Kyle never lost sight of the future of the tourism industry. He pushed forward to champion the need for supplemental funding and the diversification of funding streams to ensure that communities throughout Louisiana could rise to meet difficulties in a variety of ways to achieve optimum levels of success for the hospitality community as a whole.
“We are honored to present the Marion “Butch” Fox Advocacy Award to Kyle Edmiston, whose 15 years of leadership embodies the legacy of our late friend. Kyle’s work on behalf of the travel industry is unmatched in his passion and commitment to furthering the economic growth of travel in Louisiana,” said Jill Kidder, President/CEO of the Louisiana Travel Association.
“The level of respect that I have for Marion and the trailblazing leadership that she demonstrated throughout her career is immeasurable. I am deeply grateful for the indelible mark that she has made on the tourism industry and the hearts and minds of our colleagues around the state. To be honored with this award in her name is significant and sentimental as she mentored me as I was starting out in tourism, and I am moved that the industry saw fit to recognize my advocacy efforts in this way,” said Edmiston.
Leading up to the summer legislative session of 2021, Kyle Edmiston chaired the LACVB Tourism Recovery Improvement District (TRID) Task Force and played a vital role in the passage of HB 415 by Representative Gaines including testifying at the House Committee on Local, Municipal and Parochial. The passage of the TRID legislation will allow tourism boards and tourism commissions to better structure their revenue streams with the assistance of the businesses that are impacted by tourism in their respective parishes. This is a significant and necessary step in the diversification of revenue streams for tourism in Louisiana.
In addition, with Jill Kidder of LTA and Walt Leger of New Orleans and Company, Kyle assisted with the passage of ACT 410 and the creation of the Louisiana Tourism Revival Program that dedicates $60 million of American Rescue Plan funds directly to CVBs and DMOs that had been negatively impacted by COVID-19. This is the largest single dedication of funds for the tourism industry in history and represents many years of advocating and working at the State Capitol to showcase tourism as an economic engine for the state of Louisiana. These three then worked with Commissioner Dardenne to create a portal and ensure that all eligible organizations participated in the process.
At the federal level, Kyle worked closely with Senators Cassidy and Kennedy to ensure that the tourism industry was represented and compensated for considerable losses in both the CARES Act funding and ARP Act. Key pieces of legislation include adding governmental agencies and 501(C)(6) organizations to the Payroll Protection Plan, and language specifically dedicating funding to tourism through the Economic Development Authority’s six regional offices.
While the past 18 months have presented challenges, perhaps the best example of leadership is Kyle’s stalwart commitment toward making positive strides not only for one team or one area of the state but for the entire tourism industry at large beyond state borders to the country as a whole.
For more information on the Louisiana Travel Association, visit www.louisianatravelassociation.org.