Letter from the President-CEO

Valued LTPA members (November 2017),

By the time you read this Thanksgiving will have come and gone, but I know I speak for the entire LTPA team when I say how THANKFUL we are that we get to work on your behalf each day!

As we begin to turn our attention to 2018, I wanted to take the opportunity to share successes from your association's activities in 2017. Our successes are really your successes, as our goal is always to make our industry stronger and better.

Advocacy

  • With your help, we came out on the winning side of several tourism-related issues following the 2017 legislative session. These included defeating the ill-advised $5 statewide hotel fee, avoiding elimination of our Visitor Enterprise Funds, restoring $4.5 million to the Office of Tourism budget, renewing the Tax-Free Shopping program, and more.
  • Thanks to your contributions, TravelPAC exceeded its budget goal of $55,000 this year!
  • As the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget currently works to review all Statutorily Dedicated Funds in the state budget, we are working with our CVBs and municipalities to ensure that our Visitor Enterprise Funds remain protected and dedicated to tourism.

Education

  • Our annual conference, the Lt. Governor's Tourism Summit, has increased in its size and scope with a record number of registrants at this year's event in New Orleans!
  • The successful Louisiana Tourism Leadership Academy is entering its fourth year in 2018 and we expect our number of total program graduates to hit 65 in January.
  • We are looking forward to rolling out a new online hospitality training program in 2018.

Promotion

  • We just completed an extremely successfully Louisiana Culinary Trails PR mission in New York City! Together with our partner CVBs, we conducted 23 media appointments and 4 tour operator appointments pitching Louisiana story ideas and itineraries. In partnership with the Lt. Governor, Office of Tourism, Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board and sponsoring CVBs, we also hosted 150 media and tour operators for an unforgettable "Sights, Sounds & Tastes of Louisiana" event. Thanks to our media partner, Hoffman Media, this chef-driven reception showcased the best of Louisiana's flavors.
  • We have enjoyed a very fruitful year for marketing. In fact, 2017 has been the best year for digital marketing programs in the history of the association!

Membership

  • In early 2018, we are launching a Young Professionals group for our young - and young-at-heart - members. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks!
  • The number of Premium Partner Memberships have increased, indicating that LTPA is an effective organization in representing its member's - and tourism's - interests and needs.
  • Our Membership Directory is being finalized now and will be available online soon for your convenience.

As you can see, 2017 has truly been an exceptional year for LTPA - and we're not done yet!

One item of significance that you can expect to hear more about in the coming months is a potential name change for your association. Since its inception, LTPA has existed to support Louisiana's tourism industry through promotion, advocacy and education. These three pillars have served as our backbone for more than five decades.

Yet, while promotion has been the key to our success and the greatest asset to our members for a long time, many of you have seen increasing focus on education and advocacy as our industry adapts to meet members' needs.

With so many significant tourism issues at the Capitol over the last few years, advocacy has become more important, and requires a more hands-on, every-day-of-the-year implementation strategy. Following the direction of our board, more staff time and budget dollars have been dedicated to legislative issues at all levels of government.

In the same way, education has become more important to all of you. As the industry has changed, many of our members have asked us to increase our efforts to keep you up-to-date on the latest trends and provide additional training for your employees.

As our three-pronged strategy has proven to be equally important to you, our members, the LTPA Board of Directors believe it is time for a subtle, yet significant change. In June, the board unanimously voted to change the name of your association to the "Louisiana Travel Association." Their reasoning was two-fold:

1. Dropping the "Promotion" portion of the name reflects the equal importance of each of the three pillars.

2. The new name further aligns us with our national counterpart, the U.S. Travel Association, as we all have similar missions.

This proposal is not being brought to all of you without serious thought or without member input. Our staff, board and a committee of key members have discussed and debated this topic at length over the last nine months.

I want to reiterate that promotion is not going anywhere - we fully recognize (and greatly appreciate!) that our members still lean heavily on us for their promotional efforts. Advertising and PR will always remain a significant part of the business of your association, and will not diminish.

In the coming weeks, you will hear more about this board-approved name change in your membership renewal letter, as well as a mailed outline of how the change will affect our Articles of Incorporation. During our Annual Meeting on Jan. 23, you will have the opportunity to vote on this change. In the meantime, we welcome your feedback and I hope that you will reach out to me with any questions. My email address is jkidder@ltpa.org and phone number is 225-346-1857. Your opinions are valued and your continued involvement is vital to the success of our industry. Thank you for allowing us to serve you each and every day!

Sincerely,

Jill Kidder

LTPA President & CEO
jkidder@ltpa.org
225-346-1857