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National tourism events planned in Miss-Lou

FERRIDAY — Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne will visit Frogmore Plantation Tuesday on the first day of a statewide tour celebrating National Travel and Tourism week.

The tour aims to raise awareness about the impact the tourism industry has on the state. Louisiana attracted 26.3 million visitors in 2012, resulting in $10.7 billion in total visitor spending, according to figures from the lieutenant governor’s office.

Frogmore Plantation owner Lynette Tanner said she was honored to host Dardenne and other state and local officials, who will all be discussing the importance tourism plays on communities like Ferriday and Vidalia.

“We know Jay (Dardenne) well, and he was very helpful with the Delta Music Museum and supporting tourism in our area,” Tanner said. “We have seen more people, thankfully, over the years, and when they come to Louisiana, Natchez is just a very logically stop for them.

“So it’s the whole region we need to be working to promote and celebrate.”

Dardenne will host a press conference at 5 p.m. Tuesday, and Cami Geisman, deputy communication director, said the tour is a great way to promote tourism and the state.“Literally, last year was the best year in Louisiana tourism we’ve ever had, period,” Geisman said. “So we’re going to be talking about tourism and the impact it has on our state, while also encouraging people to explore the state we live in.”

Other officials speaking at the press conference include Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland, who said tourism is essential for the Miss-Lou to thrive.

“Tourism gives us a tremendous boost to our area, and the fact is when they come to your community they spend a lot of money,” Copeland said. “Tourists spend an average of $170 a day when they visit here, so we’re elated to welcome them to the Vidalia, Concordia Parish and the Miss-Lou.”

Ferriday Mayor Gene Allen and former Secretary of State Al Ater will also speak at the press conference.

Following the press conference, Tanner said a Civil War musical presentation will be offered at 5:30 p.m. featuring three live vocalists. A reception will also be hosted following the presentation. The events are free and open to the public.

Across the river in Natchez, several events will be hosted by the Mississippi Welcome Center at the Natchez Visitor Center and the Natchez Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Throughout the week there will be crafts, exhibits, fine arts, local artists, restaurants, attractions and representatives from local and surrounding areas promoting tourism at the Adams County Welcome Center, which is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

The Natchez CVB will host a “Natchez Tourism Trivia” competition at Bowie’s Tavern at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The CVB will also host a “Travel and Tourism Appreciation Day” from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday. Refreshments and treats will be available in the lobby of the Natchez Visitors Center and “The Natchez Story” film can be seen free of charge during those hours.

National Travel and Tourism Week is a tradition celebrated annually since 1984. It was established as National Tourism Week when the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution in 1983 designating the week to be celebrated in May.