LaPlace – The River Parish Tourist Commission, in Resolution 19-10 approved at its May 16th regular meeting, authorized Executive Director Buddy Boe to issue a Request for Proposals to select a firm to lead an intensive strategic planning effort for the River Parishes and analysis of its consumer facing brand, New Orleans Plantation Country. The strategy is aligned with Destination International’s DestinationNEXT framework: a standard for destination benchmarking and development across the global tourism industry. In June, the Commission will kick off a two-month DestinationNEXT survey of the River Parishes to assess the region’s strengths and weaknesses. The survey results will be the foundational starting point for the strategic planning process anticipated to begin in September 2019.
“When we come to the end of this planning process, we’ll have a road map that will lead us to RiverRegion2030, a destination ready to welcome the world as they learn our complex yet compelling history, taste our unique food, and hear the stories of generations of old,” said Buddy Boe, Executive Director of the River Parishes Tourist Commission.
The expected timeline is to select a firm by the end of the summer so the planning and analysis can be conducted through the end of the year allowing for the plan to be unveiled in early 2020. The plan will be a ten-year plan, updated every five years with annual plans expected to guide the yearly activities of the Commission. The two most recent strategic plans were conducted in 2003 and 2008.
“After a decade without a strategic plan, I’m thankful to our board members for supporting this effort and the community for their needed support throughout this process,” said Peggy Joseph, chair of the River Parishes Tourist Commission.
The plan will focus on developing a destination with diverse economies, a powerful network of partners, cooperative governments and engaged citizens. The strategic plan is long-term and will help our region focus on a collective vision, strategy and action plan to take the steps necessary to achieve the laid-out goals. Local economic development and zoning plans will be taken into consideration as the destination’s strategic plan is drafted.
“As an attraction of the River Region, we’re excited to see the Commission take a strong lead on building a more robust destination that will ultimately attract more visitors,” said Rita Perrilloux, owner of Historic Riverlands Christian Center.
Recently, the Commission announced an increase in visitor spending throughout the region: St. Charles Parish saw a $9,600,000 increase in visitor spending and 16% increase in hospitality related jobs. St. John the Baptist Parish enjoyed a $3,640,000 increase in visitor spending and a 5% increase in hospitality related jobs. St. James Parish, rebounding from a decrease in 2017, posted a $3,710,000 increase in visitor spending and 18% increase in hospitality related jobs. Last week, the Commission announced a formal partnership with the River Region Chamber of Commerce to continue to expand the reach of the hospitality industry throughout the area.