Officials gathered Thursday, May 25, to unveil Visit Shreveport-Bossier’s 10-year Destination Master Plan (DMP) and new regional brand.
“By bringing people from all corners of Caddo and Bossier Parishes together to push common goals, the entire area benefits,” said Stacy Brown, president and CEO of Visit Shreveport-Bossier. Together with the Shreveport, Bossier and African American chambers, VSB chose MMGY Global and MMGY NextFactor to guide the DMP and regional brand efforts. A Steering Committee made up of community stakeholders was formed to advise the consultants.
“We want to encourage locals and visitors to see that Shreveport-Bossier is a place with enough flavor, style, and soul for two cities,” said Stacy Brown, president and CEO of Visit Shreveport-Bossier. “A lot of areas push that ‘one thing.’ But we’re not ‘one thing!’ We’re so many things! You take a little of this and a little of that, and you find a whole lot of US.”
The quest for a DMP and brand began in 2019. Thursday, the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau announced that it has rebranded, officially, to Visit Shreveport-Bossier (VSB).
“Now the real work begins,” said Brown. “We hope area businesses, attractions, restaurants, and other organizations will adopt the new Shreveport-Bossier brand and use the logos proudly in their marketing materials.”
VSB and MMGY heard from more than 1,200 people through listening sessions, town-hall forums, and a resident-sentiment survey.
“We took in all that information, analyzed it, and then held a mirror back up to the community. We found Shreveport-Bossier is a diverse, creative, community-minded place. And you’re real. You don’t put on airs,” said Stewart Colovin, EVP Global Brand Strategy, MMGY Global. “And they were like, ‘Yeah! That is who we are!’”
“In order for tourism to be successful in the Shreveport and Bossier City region, we must differentiate ourselves from other nearby destinations,” said Brittney Dunn, co-chair of the Steering Committee and chairman of the Shreveport-Bossier African American Chamber. “We want visitors to feel welcome and safe while having a fun experience that can’t be duplicated elsewhere. To accomplish that, we must preserve locality, ensure diversity, support investments, and promote positivity and pride to enhance our tourism industry and our community.”
The visitor economy is vital to Shreveport-Bossier’s shared success. In 2019, more than nine million day and overnight visitors spent $681 million in Shreveport-Bossier. In 2021, that economic impact jumped to $819 million. That money comes from outside the region and benefits the local Shreveport-Bossier communities.
“Northwest Louisiana is full of real people who are also full of diversity and creativity,” said Lisa Johnson, president and CEO of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce and Steering Committee co-chair. “In our Northwest Louisiana community, you won’t find just one type of person, you will find a community filled with people of diverse backgrounds and interests. We all come together to grow things, innovate, create, and above all, be unapologetic for who we are.”
“We’re makers and creators who grow ideas and industries,” said Dr. Tim Magner, president of the Greater Shreveport Chamber. “Like our community, our economy is dynamic and diverse.”
The Shreveport-Bossier DMP strategic framework focuses on six things:
– Increase and diversify community collaboration
Accelerate mixed-use development, placemaking and mobility in the two urban waterfronts –
Prioritize support for local creative entrepreneurs in art, culture, film, food, music, retail and more –
Capitalize on surging demand for sports tourism –
Increase visitor volumes in the meetings and conventions sector –
Accelerate business development in outdoor recreation and upgrade event venue –
“The municipal governments for both Shreveport and Bossier City have high-priority economic and community development initiatives,” said Greg Oates, SVP Innovation, MMGY Next-Factor. “The same applies for Caddo Parish and Bossier Parish. This plan builds on all those initiatives. It is critical for government, industry, and community leaders to embrace how the visitor economy supports local small business development, which in turn, builds stronger and more vibrant communities.”
That is one theme that unites most people on both sides of the river.
“Ultimately, this plan is about building a better Shreveport-Bossier long-term, creating opportunities for personal and professional growth, and sharing a ‘whole lotta US’ to the world,” said Brown.