A record-breaking 51.3 million tourists visited Louisiana in 2018, a nine percent increase over 2017. That’s according to Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser who says the “Feed Your Soul” slogan is making waves, and the state has three areas of focus for tourism that are paying off.

“Visitors are coming and not just seeing one of two cities in Louisiana.  We’re also seeing a record number of staycations, where people are going to parts of Louisiana who live here.  And international travel is up,” said Nungesser.

The state has now seen 13 straight months of over the year job gains, and Nungesser says part of that trend includes the booming tourism industry, that added 2,600 jobs between 2017 and 2018.

“237,200 jobs in the tourism industry.  Since 2016, we’ve added 6,700 jobs in Louisiana,” said Nungesser.

The report, by DK Shifflet, says visitors in Louisiana spent nearly 19 billion dollars in 2018, a seven percent increase from 2017. Nungesser says that’s a ton of money going back into the state and local budgets.

“The $1.9 billion in taxes that tourists left here in Louisiana that you and I didn’t have to pay, that’s over $1,000 per household,” said Nungesser.