Coalition to promote tourism in ads

Posted on: October 29 2010 | Posted in: Latest News
A recently formed coalition to promote renewal of tourism in coastal Louisiana will begin rolling out television ads...

Coalition to promote tourism in ads

It will use money received from BP

Friday, October 29, 2010

By Ed Anderson

Capital bureau

BATON ROUGE -- A recently formed coalition to promote renewal of tourism in coastal Louisiana will begin rolling out television ads Nov. 8 and magazine ads in December, the head of the organization said Thursday.

Kristin McLaren Mickal, executive director of the Louisiana Tourism Coastal Coalition, said that advertising and promotion campaigns will cost up to $4 million, taken from the $15 million the state received from BP in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

State tourism officials divided the money with $5 million to promote the state, $5 million for New Orleans tourism and $5 million for coastal tourism.

Lt. Gov. Scott Angelle, who oversees the state Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, has pressed the oil giant for an additional $75 million. "I hope to be able to announce another good, sizeable investment to be made by BP" in the near future, Angelle said.

Mickal said the coastal tourism coalition consists of charter boat operators, lodging owners, park officials and other interests that were hurt by the oil spill from Calcasieu, Cameron, Iberia, Jefferson, Lafourche, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Terrebonne and Vermilion parishes.

She said that the coalition is financed through June 30 but no state money has been set aside for use after that period. Mickal said she is talking to corporations and those with tourism interests along the coast to help finance it starting July 1, especially if more BP money is not forthcoming.

Mickal said the coalition, which has an Internet presence at www.VisitLouisianaCoast.com, will award grants to get fairs, festivals and fishing tournaments back on track.

She said the advertising and promotional campaign will continue through the spring and will be supplemented by billboard advertising, participation in trade shows, direct mail marketing and "strategic outdoor marketing."

Mickal said print ads will be placed in special interest magazines that appeal to outdoors enthusiasts. The television ads, she said, will be aired in the region, including Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.

Angelle said that by promoting the coastal areas hurt by the spill, he hopes to also increase Louisiana's tourism share of visitors who choose a destination for outdoor recreation.

He said the national average for tourists who go to a region for outdoor recreation is about 8 percent and Louisiana's is "half of that." Angelle said a study shows that 7 percent of the visitors to Alabama and Texas go there for outdoor recreation while Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi and Florida claim a 6 percent tourism rate for outdoor recreation.

Angelle said one side-effect of the BP spill was that it "brought the coastal parishes together" to decide how they want to promote the region.

"We are trying to reinstate the footprint of the Sportsmen's Paradise to Louisiana" by promoting the coastal areas, he said.

Tourism officials did not project how much of a boost the ad campaign could generate.

Angelle also has formed an office in his department to promote "nature-based tourism." He said the coastal promotion will accent the nature-based activities the state offers, from birding and biking to swamp tours and scenic drives.

Angelle said he will work with the Legislature to toughen penalties for littering as a way to help encourage more visits by outdoors enthusiasts.

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Ed Anderson can be reached at eanderson@timespicayune.com or 225.342.5810.

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