Shelley Johnson, executive director of the Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau, recently received the Will Mangham Tourism Lifetime Achievement Award during the Louisiana Travel Association’s annual membership meeting.

Congratulation to her and her staff for the fine job they have done in promoting Southwest Louisiana’s many beautiful attractions, such as the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road, its many festivals and its many other thriving tourist attractions.

According to the state Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, the travel and tourism industry is the fourth-highest employer in the state. In 2016, Louisiana had 46.7 million visitors; $16.8 billion spending by visitors; $1.04 billion in state tax revenues generated; and 231,567 people employed in tourism.

Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, who oversees tourism, recently announced a new marketing campaign to promote Louisiana, called “Feed Your Soul.”

“This exciting new brand will offer travelers a new outlook — that you may come to Louisiana hungry, but you’ll leave with your soul full of all the rewarding experiences we offer,” Nungesser said.

“There is truly nowhere else in the world that can feed your soul like we can.”

The marketing campaign is the culmination of six months of rebranding research and analysis.

The results of that study showed Louisiana has a strong image across a number of attributes when paired against competitors like Texas, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina. 

The attributes highlighted in the study included such well-known images as Mardi Gras and jazz clubs, but also the gentle rolling hills and lakes in north Louisiana, the bayou swamps and the Gulf of Mexico in south.

Also highlighted are Louisiana’s fascinating cultures, including the American South, Louisiana French along with their cuisines and cultures and its traditional sporting opportunities.

Tourism presents the best picture of Louisiana to the world. While our state has its challenges, it is still a great place to live and visit. The local website is


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