SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - After COVID-19 shut down the country for months — the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau is slowly working to increase tourism in the area again.
“We’ve pulled back on our advertising and marketing to save those dollars,” said President Stacy Brown. “We’ve been watching all of the industry research to look at those travel indicators when are people looking to come back.
Brown says the tourist bureau had to cancel 96 events ranging from meetings, conventions, sporting events and group tours.
The economic impact of those events alone is over $19.4 million according to Brown.
With the summer here, the tourist bureau has created a brand new marketing campaign called Press Play, which will help encourage people to travel here locally.
“We’ve also seen our local people say ‘hey you know what I’m not really comfortable leaving town yet but I want out of this house,‘” said Brown. “So they are actually staying in the hotels, and doing the staycation, visiting things here at home that they often neglect to do because when they get a little bit of time they travel somewhere else.”
The Press Play in Shreveport-Bossier marketing campaign utilizes a mix of social media, search engine marketing, digital advertising, targeted e-mail marketing campaigns, and more to generate hotel bookings.
Brown says they’ve also launched a new pilot program that promotes discounted travel packages that bundle a hotel stay with fun things to do and discounts at local, popular restaurants.
“We recognize that during this slow time our partners need us, even more, to be out front marketing and promoting the destination to increase visitation,” she said. “We see tourism as an economic driver, and we want to do our part to aid in the recovery of our local economies.”
Resident Julio Montes says he can see more people traveling this summer.
“I think people are doing what they need to be doing and... I think things are getting better,” he said.
But for resident Ashley Hubbard she doesn’t have plans to travel much this summer.
“I just feel like we’re still seeing a lot new cases pop up and it’s just... it doesn’t make me feel comfortable,” she said. “I’d rather not expose myself.”
Brown says they are closely monitoring industry research and are optimistic for a strong fall.
“September and October are pacing very well compared to last year,” she said.