For additional information, contact:
Shelley Johnson, executive director
Kaylen Fletcher, public relations manager
Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau
(337) 436-9588 or (800) 456-7952

Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau
Celebrates National Tourism Week May 5-13

LAKE CHARLES, La. (April 13, 2012)- The Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau will celebrate National Tourism Week, May 5-13. As tourism is the seventh largest industry in Louisiana, the bureau will sponsor a variety of events in the community to create awareness of tourism's impact.

The week before National Tourism Week will feature two special days. Wednesday, May 2 is Media Appreciation Day, as we salute members of the press and media, recognizing the importance of these services to tourism. To show our appreciation, communication staff members will deliver a special treat to area media outlets. Friday, May 4, is Hospitality Appreciation Day, and members of the sales staff will visit area hotels, campgrounds and bed and breakfasts to show their appreciation.

National Tourism Week publicly kicks off with Children's Day, Saturday, May 5, in the Welcome Center lobby from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Free pizza, coffee and dessert will be available, and a variety of games and exhibits will be displayed to feature the many things for families to see and do in Southwest Louisiana. Gumbeaux Gator will be on hand to welcome everyone.

Back by popular demand, Tuesday, May 8, showcases restaurants in the area with Restaurant Day, offering visitors and locals a chance to sample some of the best cuisine in Southwest Louisiana. The event, made possible by the generous support of the area restaurants, is open to the public from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. and is held at the Lake Charles Civic Center Exhibition Hall.

Wednesday, May 9, there will be two hospitality ambassador training seminars taking place at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at SpringHill Suites by Marriott. Participants must RSVP to Megan Hartman in advance at or 337-436-9588.

On Thursday, May 10, members of the staff will set up a welcome display at the Visitor Center in Vinton.

Friday, May 11, the bureau will honor the local air transportation staff with lunch at the Lake Charles Regional Airport. It is also Volunteer Day from 1-3 p.m. Lake Area volunteers are invited to join staff at the bureau, as they thank them for their valuable contributions to the community.

To celebrate Mother's Day, the tourist information staff will hand out flowers on Sunday, May 13, to mothers who stop by the Welcome Center.

The public is invited to visit the Welcome Center during National Tourism Week to enjoy the festivities. As part of the celebration, the bureau will serve refreshments all week in the lobby of the welcome center. Every 100th visitor will receive a special gift. The center is open from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. on weekends.

The Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau, established in 1972, will also be celebrating 40 years of strengthening the economic fabric of Calcasieu Parish located along Interstate 10. The bureau will have a special focus on 40 years of growth, product development and promotions during National Tourism Week.

For more information, contact the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau at (337) 436-9588 or visit