Jun 13, 2023 - Business

Louisiana wants more Aussie tourists

Illustration of a briefcase covered in passport stamps

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Louisiana thrives on tourism, and state leaders are looking for ways to increase the number of international visitors from countries like Australia, India, Italy and Spain.

Why it matters: International tourists typically stay longer and spend more money than our domestic ones.

  • More visitor spending means more money funneled to our small businesses and more local jobs.

Driving the news: Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and members of the state's Office of Tourism are in Australia and New Zealand this week and next to promote international travel to Louisiana.

  • They'll also be laying the groundwork for hosting the Rugby World Cup, an athletic event that's held every four years.
  • Australia is hosting the Rugby World Cups in 2027 (men) and 2029 (women), followed by the Summer Olympics in 2032.
  • The U.S. will host the Rugby World Cup games in 2031 (men) and 2033 (women), and Louisiana is under consideration to be the host state, according to Nungesser's office.

Zoom out: Louisiana had about 106,000 international visitors in 2021, according to Nungesser's office, which oversees the state's Office of Tourism.

  • They spent about $130 million in the state.

The big picture: Louisiana markets itself as a one-stop shop destination internationally — culture, food, outdoors, music and more.

  • Visitors from Europe and Latin America comprise 29% of all visitors to Louisiana, and Canadians make up 17%.

Top countries: We see the most tourists from these countries.

  1. Canada.
  2. Mexico.
  3. Germany.
  4. United Kingdom.
  5. India.
  6. France.
  7. Spain.
  8. Italy.
  9. Brazil.
  10. Netherlands.

Zoom in: Nungesser's office said there were 38,000 visitors from Australia in 2019 before tourism plummeted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • While on the trip with Travel South USA, Nungesser's representative said he will meet with travel journalists, participate in trade shows, talk about film location tourism and meet with representatives from New Zealand's successful men's rugby team, the All Blacks.

Meanwhile, Louisiana was awarded a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Louisiana Office of Tourism is matching it with $603,000. The money is being used to promote Louisiana tourism in Mumbai, India; Milan, Italy; and Madrid, Spain.

Related Axios story: New Orleans is one of the worst cities for Airbnb fees


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