SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER, LA-Louisiana has seen an increase in international visitors in the past year, and the benefits are showing up as additional revenue to the state coffers. Locally, this trend holds true. According to Visa Vue Travel Report published by the research and development team at the Louisiana Office of Tourism, international tourists generated more than $1.3 million in visa and cash expenditures while in Shreveport-Bossier for the first two quarters of 2010.
“These numbers are indicative of a growing interest in Shreveport-Bossier from those abroad,” said Stacy Brown, president of the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau. “We have seen an increase in international visitors, in particular, in the group tour market.”
The top three visiting countries to the sister cities were Canada, United Kingdom and Mexico, according to the report released in August 2010.
Recently, the tourist bureau announced that one of the major new groups to come to the area is Globus, a United Kingdom group tour company. Globus has not visited Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina. The tour company’s first tour back to Louisiana was Sept. 21-23, 2010, and Globus stopped here. They have booked another nine international groups to visit Shreveport-Bossier in 2011.
In addition, the tourist bureau has been working with another international group called Sweet Magnolia Tours. They will be bringing a group of 200-250 from Ireland on October 22-25, 2011 to spend three nights in Shreveport-Bossier. This is part of a weeklong tour that will include Lafayette, New Orleans and Memphis, Tenn.
The group is being led by Robert Mizell who is the “George Strait” of European Country music and a Shreveport native. Mizell has not been to Shreveport in 20 years and is hosting this tour so his avid fans can learn more about his home town. He hopes to make this an annual trip. Mizell has a number one country song on the European Music Charts called “Mama Courtney” about his African-American mother figure who is buried in Shreveport.
“I foresee more growth. As we come out of the recession people want to go back to traveling,” said Jody Hanson, Sales and Marketing Director for Travel and Tourism Marketing, a company that provides marketing tips and advice for the tourism industry. “Specifically, people from the U.K. want to travel, because of their sense of adventure.”
She also explained that “Visitors from the U.K. typically come to Shreveport-Bossier for festivals, historical buildings, and casinos. They want to experience the music and history [you all] have to offer. Packaging all these things together is what draws attention.”
New legislation may also be cause for the rise in international tourism. In early 2010, the Travel Promotion Act was signed into law. It is a multi-million dollar, public-private partnership to promote the United States as a premier travel destination to other countries.
Shreveport-Bossier is full of relaxing modern conveniences wrapped in welcoming Southern charm. We take care of our visitors like family, filling you up with our tastiest food and treating you to as much entertainment as you want. We are Louisiana's Other Side, and here, we are a mix of wide-open Texas spirit and spicy Cajun attitude. We took the best of big Texas and the tastiest of Louisiana and blended it into our own brand of entertainment and fun. With so much to do in Shreveport-Bossier…why go anywhere else?! Fall in love with Shreveport-Bossier! To learn more about all there is to see and do in Shreveport-Bossier, visit www.shreveportbossierfunguide.com.