In a day when everyone seems focused on putting themselves ahead of others, it’s refreshing to note that some organizations still find value in working with others to achieve a mutually beneficial goal.
Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism and Tangi Tourism have teamed up to create a new joint tourism initiative called “Explore More.” It’s aimed at driving tourism between Lafourche and Tangipahoa parishes, each of which makes an excellent weekend escape or staycation for the other’s residents.
Driven in part by a challenge issued by Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser for Louisiana’s tourism entities to find innovative ways to partner with each other, the Explore More campaign truly came to fruition because of the creativity of the two tourism offices’ directors and staffs. The two offices decided that collaboration works a lot better than competition, especially when the tourism businesses within each parish – hotels, restaurants, attractions and festivals -- are the big winners.
“We’re always looking for clever ways to increase visitation to Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou,” said Timothy Bush, president and CEO of Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism. “We know that time is more precious than ever and that many people are now planning vacations closer to home. We took a closer look around our own state to see which nearby parishes might want to help us turn their residents into our guests, and vice versa. Visitor statistics tell us that plenty of residents from Tangipahoa Parish already spend their leisure time in Lafourche Parish, but they’re not necessarily spending a night or two here ... yet. So, Tangipahoa Parish seemed like a perfect match.”
With that philosophy in mind, each parish created two sets of itineraries – one that’s ideal for a couple’s getaway and the other more focused on family fun – and have created a cross-promotion by posting all four itineraries on both tourism office’s websites. Each website also includes a sweepstakes package for two people, featuring a two-night stay at a local hotel, gift cards to restaurants, and vouchers for local attractions.
Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou’s suggested itineraries feature the parish’s now-famous Cajun Bayou Food Trail, which highlights restaurants that pay homage to authentic Cajun cuisine, but the suggested travel plans also focus on such outdoor activities as Airboat Tours by Arthur Matherne and local cultural spots like the E.D. White Historic Site.
Meanwhile, Tangipahoa Parish is highlighting its Global Wildlife Center, where visitors can hand-feed giraffes, bison and camels, as well as pumpkin-picking at local farms and attending the Louisiana Renaissance Fest. In short, each parish offers activities that are different from what the other parish’s residents can do in their own hometowns but that are compelling enough to encourage them to make a 90-minute drive for some fun.
“The concept of cross-pollination to build visitation was a no-brainer for our parishes,” said Carla Tate, the executive director of the Tangipahoa Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We have a lot in common, including wonderful outdoor adventures, delicious food and fabulous festivals. But we’re different enough that we complement each other rather than truly compete against each other for visitors. Why not share the wealth and educate potential visitors about two great parishes rather than just one?”
The positive effects of this unique partnership could be put to the test during the weekend of the November 21, when there’s a football game between Nicholls State University, based in Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou, and Southeastern Louisiana University, based in Tangipahoa Parish. The game, which is a long-running rivalry between the two schools, will be played in Hammond this year. The two tourism offices will host a tailgate party together to celebrate their partnership, and invite game goers to stop by for some great food and hospitality.
To enter the sweepstakes contest and view itineraries from each parish, visit Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou and Tangipahoa Parish Tourism’s websites.