Every year in mid-May, the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, along with our major tourism partners like the Louisiana Restaurant Association, the Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association and New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp., join cities across the United States to celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week and the industry that employs more than 75,000 locals and brings $6 billion to our city annually. We expect approximately 700 people to attend the luncheon and we have an exciting program planned.
"The promotion of tourism to Louisiana is vitally important to the restaurants across Louisiana," said Stan Harris, LRA President/CEO. "National Travel and Tourism Week affords our industry the opportunity to remind the public of the unique culinary and cultural treasures we have in Louisiana and how that translates to jobs and revenue."
The first full week of May is annually recognized as 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.”
While New Orleans hosts a rally to emphasize the economic impact and number of individuals the hospitality industry employs, Louisiana Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne toured the state this week spreading the message of tourism's role in the state's economy. The press tour kicked off in New Orleans for the rally and moved on to the Northshore, Bossier City, Lake Charles and Jeff Davis Parish.
Since its establishment, the U.S. travel community has collectively marked the event in a number of creative ways, from staging local rallies and conducting media outreach to securing proclamations and resolutions from local legislative bodies.
The Senior Vice President of the National Restaurant Association’s Research and Knowledge Group told a House panel that travel and tourism plays a crucial role in restaurant industry growth, including helping the nation’s nearly one million restaurants create jobs.
In his testimony, Hudson Riehle highlighted how the restaurant industry is a leading job creator in the U.S. economy – including seasonal employment for peak tourism months – and how spending by travelers and tourists help restaurants drive job creation.
“With more than 13.1 million employees, the nation’s nearly 980,000 restaurants employ about one in 10 working Americans. About half of all adults have worked in the restaurant industry at some point in their lives, and one in three got their first job in a restaurant,” Riehle said.
Although many of our members are still dealing with the effects of the Great Recession, last year we added jobs at a 3.4 percent rate – double the 1.7 percent growth rate in the overall economy. We’re on track this year for our 14th consecutive year of outpacing job growth in the overall economy.
“Restaurants are also the nation’s second-largest creator of seasonal jobs during the summer months, with travel and tourism fueling that job creation. In a typical summer season, restaurants will add more than 400,000 jobs. That figure trails only the construction industry.”
Riehle also pointed to tourism’s impact on restaurant sales. National Restaurant Association research shows that roughly one in four industry sales dollars come from travel and tourism.
Riehle voiced the Association’s supports measures to drive stronger travel and tourism, including reducing barriers to international travel (including the JOLT Act reforms in the Senate immigration bill), stepping up promotion of the United States as an international destination through continued public-private collaboration made possible through the Travel Promotion Act, and increasing business meal deductibility.
Hudson Riehle testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade. Read Riehle's full testimony.