“We are the fun-loving, bohemian older sister of all the other states,” Michael Prejean, international manager, Louisiana Office of Tourism, told travel partners at an event hosted by Louisiana Office of Tourism in Calgary last night (March 21).
The mini trade show and presentation, which was held at the Calgary Marriott Downtown Hotel, marked the first time the tourism board had brought its travel partners to Calgary to promote the state brand message to Canadian travel trade.
“We are a cultural destination where people come to play and we are here to promote the state and highlight our culture, our history, our music, our food,” Prejean told the some 70 travel agents who attended.
Guests were treated to an authentic cajun meal by the “King of Louisiana Seafood” Chef Ryan Trahan.
Canada is the number one international visitor to Louisiana representing 40 per cent of all international guests.
Tax-free shopping for Canadians has been a successful program in driving travellers to the state for the last 25 years.
Here are a few must-see spots for those with plans to visit Louisiana.
Shreveport-Bossier: Located on the upper northwest corner of the state, Shreveport-Bossier is closer to Dallas than New Orleans. It's home of the Historic Municipal Auditorium (where Elvis Presley started his career), the American Rose Society and Chimp Haven, the world’s largest retired chimp community.
The city also hosts the second largest Mardi Gras festival and is the only one that is family friendly.
Atchafalaya National Heritage Area:Atchafalaya National Heritage Area features a collection of 14 parishes in central to south Louisiana with local heritage and historical sites.
One of the most popular sites is the Atchafalaya Water Trail where visitors can experience the stories of the water in the region with boat rides, alligator tours, swamp tours, food and cultural experiences.
Jefferson Parish: Jefferson Parish is located next to New Orleans and is home to the Orleans International Airport, although a new airport is opening May 2019. There are many affordable hotel options, which make this spot ideal for convenience and proximity to the airport.
Foodie's will want to experience the Louisiana Jefferson Parish Oyster Trail which includes unique oyster dishes, stories and art from more than two dozen restaurants.
New Orleans Plantation Country: New Orleans Plantation Country is located 30 minutes West of New Orleans, and is composed of 10 homes that were formerly plantation homes, and preserved in their original condition.
Visitors can walk through the homes and learn more about the history and stories of New Orleans during that time.
Lafayette, Cajun Country: There are plenty of things to experience in this region, including Avery Island, home of the Tabasco hot sauce factory offering tastings and tours of the factory, and Cajun food tours that allow guests to experience Cajun cuisine in a short time frame with a customized tour.
Two unique Mardi Gras experiences are also offered here: Mardi Gras VIP and country-style Mardi Gras.
Cruising in New Orleans
New Orleans is the number five cruise port in the U.S. so combining a pre or post-cruise trip can offer two different vacation experiences for cruise clients.
Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Cruise Line all offer Caribbean cruises out of New Orleans. Discount coupons are available for travel agents to gift their cruise guests with incentives to spend a few extra days in New Orleans.
Air Canada offers easy connections for Calgarians to New Orleans via Toronto and to Dallas from both Vancouver and Toronto. There are currently no direct, non-stop flights out of Calgary.
Travel Brands has been a trusted travel partner offering flights, accommodations and tour options that can be booked through Access.
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