While the coronavirus pandemic has hit many industries hard including the tourism sector since early spring, visitation numbers just released for 2019 show another record-breaking year for Louisiana. Earlier this month Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser announced visitors coming to Louisiana increased for an eighth consecutive year.
The state welcomed 53.2 million visitors in 2019, representing an increase of 3.8% over the 51.3 million visitors reported by DK Shifflet in 2018. Visitors spent $18.9 billion and the travel and tourism industry generated $1.92 billion in state and local tax revenue in 2019, an increase of 2.1% over 2018. Tax revenue generated through travel and tourism spending saves each household in Louisiana $1,100 a year in taxes that would be needed to maintain current services.
“The announcement of record-breaking tourism numbers comes with mixed emotions during this pandemic that has closed the doors to so many of our businesses,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “I’ve heard people say that recovering the tourism industry to its 2019 level as a result of COVID-19 will be virtually impossible. But Louisiana makes it a habit to do what is said can’t be done. From hurricanes, floods and oil spills, we’ve been through tough times and, through them all, our resilience has inspired and changed the world. Just as we have done before, following these past hardships, we will once again come back stronger. We are Louisiana Strong.”
Investing in tourism to promote and market Louisiana leads to thousands of direct and indirect jobs for the state. At the end of 2019, 242,200 people were employed in tourism-related jobs, a 2.3% increase over 2018.
“Tourism has consistently been Louisiana’s fourth largest employer,” said Doug Bourgeois, assistant secretary of the Louisiana Office of Tourism. “Teamwork and dedication are going to be critical as we move forward and continue to promote Louisiana. With the leadership of Lieutenant Governor Nungesser and the hard work of our statewide tourism partners, we will continue to attract visitors to Louisiana.”