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(Special to the American Press)

(Special to the American Press)

Lake Charles to host Louisiana Tourism Summit

Last Modified: Thursday, January 17, 2013 1:50 PM

By Cliff Seiber / American Press

Louisiana tourism professionals will get a good view of Southwest Louisiana during the annual Lieutenant Governor’s Tourism Summit in Lake Charles next week.

The summit, organized by the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association, will be Tuesday-Thursday, Jan. 22-24, at L’Auberge Casino Resort.

“It will give us a chance to showplace our area to the rest of the state,” said Shelly Johnson, executive director of the Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The event will include three familiarization tours. One will feature Jefferson Davis Parish — where, she said, visitors will see Louisiana Spirits, the rum distillery under construction at Lacassine; be photographed with baby alligators at the Jennings Oil and Gas Park; and have lunch at the Regatta Restaurant in Lake Arthur.

Another tour will take people on the Creole Nature Trail from Lake Charles down into Cameron Parish, and a third will concentrate on the history of Southwest Louisiana, including the Charpentier Historic District.

Both of these tours will include stops along the Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail, with samples provided, Johnson said.

“The last time Lake Charles was host to the annual summit was 2006, when there were still a lot of blue roofs in the aftermath of 2005’s Hurricane Rita,” Johnson said. “It will be a totally different picture of Southwest Louisiana.”

Travel counselors from all over the state will be at the conference, she said. Included in the massive schedule of activities are exams for becoming a certified tourist counselor, which will attract people from throughout the state. Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne will discuss the tourism business at a breakfast Wednesday. He will also talk about Louisiana Office of Tourism initiatives and legislative activities affecting tourism.

Roger Dow, president and CEO of the US Travel Association, will lead a discussion of what is going on nationally in tourism during Wednesday’s luncheon.

The Louisiana Travel Fair will give visitors bureaus, attractions, hotels and other tourist businesses from around the state an opportunity to show off their products and services to others in the business.

The program will wind down with the Louisiana Tourism Industry awards luncheon at noon Thursday.

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