Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tourism rally brings focus on industry careers

Staff of the Creole Cuisine Restaurant Group proudly sport
their Tourism Matters t-shirts and their company banner.
This morning, the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau hosted its third annual Tourism Rally, which saw more than 1,000 hospitality industry workers—carriage drivers, servers, bellmen, artists, Mardi Gras Indians, chefs and many others, gather in the French Quarter. Participants marched down Royal Street and the parade featured industry staff donning Tourism Matters t-shirts and signs about the importance visitors have on their livelihoods.

“New Orleans is one of 75 American cities that host a rally,” said Kelly Schulz, VP of Communications for the NOCVB. “Tourism provides 74,000 individuals in the Greater New Orleans area with jobs and rewarding careers.”

With the increase of national sporting events and the upcoming 2013 NFL Super Bowl and an ever growing Mardi Gras and festival season, the industry is a $5 billion boon to the Louisiana economy. By 2013, the industry is expected to top $7 billion in visitor spending and add an impressive 33,000 new positions in the hospitality sector—hotels, restaurants and attractions.

“The Louisiana Restaurant Association actively advocates for tourism promotion to our state,” said Stan Harris, President and CEO. “Louisiana is a destination for millions of visitors each year and when they are here, they fill our restaurants enjoying the authentic and truly unique cuisine we offer."

By 2022, Louisiana's restaurant industry is projected to add 17,400 new positions according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission. To meet this demand, the LRA Education Foundation administers the nationally-recognized ProStart program--a restaurant management and culinary arts curriculum currently offered in nearly 50 high schools statewide.

May 5-13 marks National Travel and Tourism Week, a tradition first celebrated in 1984. Localized events are presented in cities, states and travel businesses nationwide to champion the power of travel. It was established as National Tourism Week when the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution in 1983 designating the week to be celebrated in May. In a White House ceremony, President Ronald Reagan signed a Presidential Proclamation urging citizens to observe the week with “the appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

NOCVB President Stephen Perry is a member of the U.S Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, a group of 32 CEOs who advise the U.S. Secretary of Commerce on policies affecting the travel and tourism industry. He was sworn in by President Obama in January at Walt Disney World, where the President announced a national strategy to make the United States the world’s top travel and tourism destination, as part of a comprehensive effort to spur job creation.

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