LAKE CHARLES, La. (May 1, 2013)- The Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau will celebrate National Tourism Week, May 4-12.  As tourism brought $358 million to Calcasieu Parish last year, the bureau will sponsor a variety of events in the community to create awareness of tourism's impact.

The bureau will emphasize the local cuisine that entices the taste buds of visitors and residents alike for National Tourism Week this year.  Many local restaurants have chosen to participate in a coupon program during National Tourism Week that will allow patrons to show their appreciation to the culinary masters by taking their taste buds on tour during National Tourism Week, with coupons valid May 4-11.  Participating restaurants and downloadable coupons may be obtained online at

In the spirit of food, the CVB needs help from locals creating a virtual cookbook.  The public is also invited to cast their vote for their favorite restaurant in Southwest Louisiana by logging on to The top 20 restaurants will be announced at the conclusion of National Tourism Week and the winners will have official window stickers stating they are a "Top 20 Restaurant in Southwest Louisiana."

National Tourism Week officially kicks off with Children's Day, Saturday, May 4, in the Welcome Center lobby from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.  Free pizza, punch 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.

On Thursday, May 9, members of the staff will set up a welcome display at the Visitor Center in Vinton.

Friday, May 10, the bureau will honor the local air transportation staff with lunch and live Cajun band at the Lake Charles Regional Airport to create a lively atmosphere for visitors at the 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 12, 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.

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