Saturday, April 13, 2024

Tourism in Lincoln Parish Flourishes with Record Visitation and Grant Allocations

by David Specht

The Ruston Lincoln Convention & Visitors Bureau (Experience Ruston) has announced a prosperous year for tourism in Lincoln Parish, with 2023 showcasing remarkable growth and engagement within the region.

According to proprietary visitor intelligence data released by Experience Ruston, Lincoln Parish experienced an impressive 18% increase in new visitors, coupled with a 7% rise in total trips to the area. Notably, over 57% of visitors chose to extend their stay for two or more days, contributing to the overall economic impact of tourism in the parish. Furthermore, the data highlights that 50.1% of visitors hailed from out-of-state, indicating a significant draw for travelers beyond Louisiana borders. May through July emerged as peak visitor months, aligning with the parish’s seasonal attractions and events. Additionally, lodging tax revenue surged by 10% compared to the previous year, signaling a robust influx of visitors contributing to the local economy.

Amanda Carrier, President & CEO of Experience Ruston, expressed enthusiasm regarding the positive tourism trends, stating, “It has been an interesting few years for the travel and tourism industry, so seeing increases across the board is a great indicator of the health of our destination.”

In line with its commitment to fostering community development through tourism, Experience Ruston allocated a total of $377,647.54 in grants and sports tourism support in 2023. Notably, $195,362.10 was disbursed to area attractions for destination and community development initiatives. Recipients of these grants included prominent landmarks such as the Autrey House Museum, Lincoln Parish Park, and the North Louisiana Exhibition Center. Collaborative enhancement projects at Lincoln Parish Park and the North Louisiana Exhibition Center were undertaken in partnership with the Lincoln Parish Police Jury, demonstrating a coordinated effort to enhance tourism infrastructure within the parish.

Courtney Hall, Parish Administrator, emphasized the significance of strategic partnerships in expanding Lincoln Parish’s reputation as a regional tourist destination, underscoring the pivotal role played by the Lincoln Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau in driving tourism growth.

The momentum of tourism in Lincoln Parish was further exemplified by the Louisiana Peach Festival, which welcomed over 24,000 attendees, marking a notable 10% increase from the previous year. Produced through a collaborative effort by the City of Ruston, Downtown Ruston, and Experience Ruston, the festival serves as a flagship event showcasing the cultural richness and vibrancy of the region. With preparations underway for this year’s festival scheduled for June 1, 2024, organizers anticipate an even larger turnout, building upon the success of previous editions.

Experience Ruston plans to delve deeper into the tourism impact data during National Travel & Tourism Week, scheduled for May 19-25. Additional information about upcoming events and initiatives will be available in April on the Experience Ruston website.

About the Ruston Lincoln Convention & Visitors Bureau:

The Ruston Lincoln Convention & Visitors Bureau is a destination marketing organization dedicated to promoting and enhancing visitor experiences in Lincoln Parish. For more information, visit www.experienceruston.com.

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