Spartanburg, SC (September 30, 2021)—Mayor Hunter of Lake Charles was honored as the recipient of the Shining Example Award for Governmental Tourism Leadership by the Southeast Tourism Society at its Shining STS 2021 Connections Conference. The award was garnered through Mayor Hunter demonstrating consistent vision and passion for developing partnerships with Visit Lake Charles and other tourism-related entities to promote Lake Charles as a desirable destination for leisure visitation.

In addition to the resolute leadership that Mayor Nic Hunter provided following the unprecedented storms of 2020 – Hurricane Laura, Tropical Storm Beta and Hurricane Delta – followed by Winter Storm Uri in February of 2021, Mayor Hunter has been a champion for tourism since he took office as the Mayor of Lake Charles in 2017.

“Mayor Hunter is constantly generating ideas that help put Lake Charles and Southwest LA on the map for visitors in a variety of ways. Even with the past 18 months of hardship, Mayor Hunter has looked for creative programs to invigorate culture and bring the arts into the forefront to inspire people with a sense of hope and pride in what it means to be from Southwest Louisiana. We have had a longstanding, productive relationship with Mayor Hunter and his innovative team at City Hall, and we are looking forward to building upon that foundation as we move into the future,” said Kyle Edmiston, President/CEO of Visit Lake Charles.

“I wake up every single day and ask myself how my team can be part of a solution or movement or positive initiative to make the City of Lake Charles become a better version of itself from brick-and-mortar to the cultural fabric that makes up our collective identity. So, to be honored with the Governmental Tourism Leadership Award means so much to me because all the hard work that our partners and everyone in the community have put forth is being recognized by such a longstanding and prestigious tourism organization,” said Hunter.

As a lifelong resident and restaurateur, Mayor Hunter is deeply rooted in the hospitality industry. He has led the charge on many projects that bolster the tourism products and promotion of Lake Charles. Several projects include building upon Visit Lake Charles “Meet the Locals” video series with additional productions. He also worked with the Visit Lake Charles team to create the #GetDowntownLC microsite, initiative and mechanism for promoting events occurring in downtown Lake Charles.

Mayor Hunter promoted the Nellie Lutcher Better Block project along with the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana and Visit Lake Charles. There have been several new businesses open in the district, and the City of Lake Charles is currently working on a Nellie Lutcher Pocket Park.  

During the initial COVID restrictions lifting in 2020, Mayor Hunter approached Visit Lake Charles with a matching advertising campaign to bolster the local economy during COVID once the restrictions lifted from phase 1 to phase 2. The campaign yielded 3.5 million impressions with a video completion rate of 94.63% and 8,711 landing page view with the campaign running June 4 – July 15, 2020. 

Since taking office on July 1, 2017, Mayor Hunter has successfully enacted a number of key initiatives, including increasing funding for drainage improvements by 93 percent. He launched the Partners in Parks Initiative in July 2018, securing nearly $750,000 in private donations and grants. These funds have been used to transform several City parks and re-invigorate programming while inspiring various community and civic organizations to partner with the City. The Partners in Parks Initiative received a first place Community Achievement Award from the Louisiana Municipal Association in August 2019. 

Making good on his promise to “turn dirt on the lakefront,” Mayor Hunter announced the lakefront development project Port Wonder, a $20 million plus science and nature center and state of the art children’s museum. This historic project is going to be made possible by dozens of public and private funding partners. 

Mayor Hunter’s administration has been forward-thinking and supportive for a myriad of events for the Lake Area from the USA Boxing Olympic Trials to the soon-to-be held World LNG & Gas Series: 18th Americas Summit later this year to the PGA Korn Ferry Lake Charles Championship tournament in 2022. The City of Lake Charles also works to support local artists, festivals and events with the City of Lake Charles Partnership Grant.  

The Southeast Tourism Society is an association comprised of 12 member states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The society is dedicated to improving the economic vitality of the Southeast by uniting all segments of the travel and tourism industry; promoting tourism within its member states, fostering cooperation, sharing resources and providing continuing education.

For more information on the Southeast Tourism Society, visit