Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne visited Lake Charles today as part of a statewide expedition celebrating National Tourism Week.  Traveling in a mini coach wrapped in Louisiana Travel’s latest tourism marketing campaign and statistics, he was greeted at the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau by tourism employees, Gumbeaux Gator and the Lake Charles Buccaneers.

Last year Louisiana’s tourism industry had a record-setting year attracting 28.7 million visitors, a 5 percent increase over 2013. The revenue generated through domestic and international visitors represents a more than 38-to-1 return on investment of state funding.

“Southwest Louisiana is booming with tourists thanks to pristine outdoor recreation opportunities and an incredible new resort added to existing properties. Tourists spent more than $11 billion in our state last year resulting in $836 million in tax revenue,” Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne said. “Tourism and hospitality was Louisiana’s fastest growing job sector in 2014 with 223,000 Louisianians employed in the industry. I take this industry seriously because it creates jobs for our citizens and a steady income for Louisiana that residents don’t have to provide.”

As tourism brought $385 million to Calcasieu Parish last year through travel expenditures, the bureau celebrates National Tourism Week, along with the U.S. Travel Association, to enhance awareness of tourism’s impact.

“With the growth of our local gaming industry, Southwest Louisiana is being recognized as one of the top resort destinations on the Gulf Coast.  We are continuing to see new restaurants and businesses open throughout the area along with a thriving arts community.  And just last month, the bureau opened a fun, free attraction in Sulphur – Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point – which showcases the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road.  It’s exciting to have one of our largest festivals, Contraband Days, going on right now in the middle of National Tourism Week,” said Shelley Johnson, executive director of the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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