Our Views: New records for tourism

If there are billions in positive news for Louisiana’s petrochemical economy, there’s also billions in T-shirts and go-cups, as Louisiana tourism posted another record year in 2013.

We hope, along with an appropriate celebration, that Louisiana does what it takes to keep the good times rolling.

More than 27 million visitors spent $10.8 billion and contributed $800 million in state tax revenue, according to Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, the state’s top tourism official. It’s all-around good news for the economy — “big business for Louisiana,” as Dardenne said.

The University of New Orleans’ Louisiana forecast report found that 700,000 visitors went to sites outside New Orleans, although the Crescent City remains the crown jewel of Louisiana tourism because of its international reputation and convention facilities capable of hosting very large events.

Dardenne said the 2013 numbers were fueled by the Super Bowl in New Orleans, the NCAA Women’s Basketball Finals and other major events.

We believe in the value of such big events, but we would also say the extraordinary sights and sounds of New Orleans, the Atchafalya Basin and our bayou country and the food and history that is all around us in Louisiana remains the fundamental basis for our tourism industry.

With advertising and other promotions we must continue to sell the story of Louisiana. Dardenne’s Office of Tourism has won international accreditation, only the second state to do so, and that’s another good sign for the future of travel spending in Louisiana.

Preserving and enhancing our historic streets, neighborhoods and towns is one of the indirect ways that Louisiana can ensure that the tourism bucks continue to roll. Let them roll on.