LAFAYETTE, LA. (Jan. 30, 2018) – Shelley Johnson, executive director/CEO of the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana CVB (LC/SWLA CVB) was named as the recipient of the prestigious Will Mangham Tourism Lifetime Achievement Award during the Louisiana Travel Association (LTA) Annual Membership Meeting held recently in Lafayette. The award is named after the late Will Mangham, affectionately known as the “father” of Louisiana Tourism Promotion.
“I feel incredibly fortunate to have been given the tremendous opportunity to be part of the vibrant Louisiana tourism industry for a lifetime career. The people that I have met along the way have truly enriched my life beyond anything I could have ever dreamed. It is a privilege to be able to promote our culture, food, music, festivals, the great outdoors and all the attractions. Working with the community of Southwest Louisiana, state tourism partners, regional leaders and beyond, is an experience that I will always treasure,” said Johnson, executive director/CEO of the LC/SWLA CVB.
“Who can be more deserving of this year’s Louisiana Travel Association Lifetime Achievement Award than Shelley Johnson? With her many years of service to the travel industry and Southwest Louisiana, Shelley is the consummate professional, a creative marketer and an inspiring leader. Simply put, no one knows more about tourism than Shelley, and I am proud to call her my friend,” said Jill Kidder, LTA president/CEO.
Johnson has served as the executive director/CEO of the LC/SWLA CVB since 1988. During that time, the LC/SWLA CVB has been well-recognized with accolades such as the CVB of the Year in 2015, 2000 and 1997 by the Southeast Tourism Society (STS) as well as the CVB of the Year by LTA 2012 and 2008. She currently serves on the Louisiana Tourism Development Commission, as appointed by Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, having also served 1996-2011 under other administrations. She is a board member of the Louisiana Tourism Coastal Coalition, Louisiana Association of CVBs, the Imperial Calcasieu Museum, secretary/treasurer of the Creole Nature Trail Board of Commissioners, serves on the advisory council for Burton Coliseum, and she is a liaison for the Lake Charles Civic Center Development Corporation and the West Calcasieu Community Center Authority.
Ms. Johnson is a Certified Destination Management Executive and a Louisiana Certified Travel Professional, overseeing a certified bureau by Destinations International. She has served on LTA’s board of directors multiple times and as chairman of the board in 2005-2007 and 1993-1994. She is a past chairman of the National Hurricane Museum & Science Center’s board of directors and the past president of the Louisiana Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus.
Other personal accolades include being a 1995 presidential appointee for the White House Conference on Tourism and the 1994 Louisiana Travel Industry Person of the Year. She has been involved with STS since the early 90s, has been honored with the Dorothy Hardman award and served as STS chair for the past 2 years. As the STS chair, she worked to bring meetings to one time per year, helped devise a succession plan and implemented an office policy.
Perhaps one of Johnson’s greatest achievements has centered on the great outdoors with her crown jewel being the promotion and nurturing of the Creole Nature Trail. The Creole Nature Trail roadway was designated as a state scenic byway in 1993. In 1996, the district worked to receive recognition of the trail as a federal byway, and then later, as an All-American Road in 2002. The Creole Nature Trail has received many marketing grants, has a strong and distinctive brand, and it has garnered publicity for decades. Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point opened in 2015, welcoming visitors and serving as a satellite office in Sulphur, LA, for the LC/SWLA CVB.
Johnson currently oversees a team of 22 employees with many volunteers who assist on a daily basis as well as during major events. She has dedicated her entire life to tourism and encouraging others to achieve nothing short of excellence. She is revered throughout the tourism industry as someone who can get things done efficiently, always with hospitality at the core of everything that she does and going above and beyond to make the industry shine. Johnson works tirelessly to instill values of hospitality into her staff so that the spirit of hospitality flourishes in others, making the industry strong with advocates and passionate tourism professionals.