Mike Prejean, Louisiana Office of Tourism; Eugenie Mitchell, Lafayette Convention & Visitors Commission; Tracy Francis, Visit Baton Rouge; Joanne Scalamogna, Canadian rep. for Louisiana Tourism & Marc Becker, The New Orleans Hotel Collection
Amigos Travel's Lily Xu flanked by Audrey Martyn & Ross McKinnon of Expedia CruiseShipCenters
Visit Baton Rouge's Tracy Francis with Jalal Nanji, Accessible Travel Venture
Welcoming travel agents to a lively
evening reception at Gastown's trendy Steamworks Brew Pub recently, Mike
Prejean, International Manager for the Louisiana Office of Tourism, invited his
guests to enjoy a taste of what the Big Easy is famous for... food, music and
And, perhaps what we all didn't know and Prejean
reminded us - is that the Wall Street Journal's Market Watch listed the state
of Louisiana as the happiest place in the U.S. with Lafayette being the
happiest city in the country!. Other Louisiana cities that also made the top 10
were Houma; Shreveport-Bossier City; Baton
Rouge; Alexandria and Lake Charles. Not bad for a state that overcame such
adversity in the wake of Hurricane Katrina just 10 years ago.
Responding to many agents' queries, Tracy
Francis, Destination Sales Manager – Tourism, Visit Baton Rouge said, “We went
through an amazing renaissance after Katrina. Things are now back to normal."
Added Marc Becker of The New Orleans Hotel Collection which represents 7
boutique properties in the French Quarter, “New Orleans is even better now; you
have to come and see for yourself".
During the mini trade show, along
with a plethora of promotional materials, I picked up “From the Land of Tabasco
Sauce". The little booklet features
Island, the birthplace of Tabasco Brand Products. It was the 1
place to bottle and sell the famous product in 1869. Today, the factory still
churns out Tabasco sauce and is open for public tours.
On the topic of food, guests were treated
to a delectable spread of authentic Creole-influenced cuisine including
Jambalaya and gumbo - which took spice to a whole new level – thank goodness we
were in a brew pub and beer was on hand!
Vancouver was the only stop in Canada for
the Louisiana entourage which also visited tour operators and travel agencies
the following day. Rouding out the team were
Eugenie Mitchell, Vice President of Tourism Sales,
Lafayette Convention & Visitors Commission and Joanne
Scalamogna, Canadian representative for Louisiana Tourism.
Agents selling The Big Easy may be
interested to know that from now till June 30
th, Air Canada
Vacations is offering bonus Aeroplan miles for air and hotel packages. Air
Canada offers daily non-stop flights to New Orleans from Toronto with
connections to/from Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.