Two places. One heart.
That was the message on the huge banner outside the Red River Room at the Shreveport Convention Center Thursday morning as officials gathered to unveil Visit Shreveport-Bossier’s 10-year Destination Master Plan (DMP) and new regional brand.
The goal is to increase the visitor economy in the area by uniting the two cities that are separated by the Red River.
“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.
Brown started the press conference by announcing that the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau has officially been rebranded Visit Shreveport-Bossier (VSB) and unveiling a new logo.
“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 Brown. “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 VSB chose MMGY Global and MMGY NextFactor to guide the DMP and regional brand efforts, which began in 2019. A Steering Committee made up of community stockholders was formed to advise the consultants.
The committee includes Brown, Brittney Dunn (co-chair), Lisa Johnson (co-chair), Doyle Adams, Pam Atchison, Gabriel Balderas, Tommy Boggs, Mike Busada, Eric England, Butch Ford, Beau Hays, Tim Magner, Amanda Nottingham, Jason Roberts, Liz Swaine, Bob Thames, Henry Whitehorn, and Dr. Woody Wilson.
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.
“Eight hundred nineteen million dollars,” said Greg Oates, Senior Vice President, Innovation, for MMGY NextFactor, a consulting firm specializing in travel and tourism. “That’s how much visitors brought to Shreveport-Bossier. That money came from outside (the area) and stayed here.”
Oates said increasing that amount is the purpose of the DMP.
“You’re on track to be a billion-dollar visitor industry,” Oates told the conference attendees.
The Shreveport-Bossier DMP strategic framework focuses on six things:
- Increasing and diversifying community collaboration
- Accelerating mixed-use development, placemaking and mobility in the two urban waterfronts
- Prioritizing support for local creative entrepreneurs in art, culture, film, food, music, retail and more
- Capitalizing on the surging demand for sports tourism
- Increasing visitor volumes in the meetings and conventions sector
- Accelerating business development in outdoor recreation and upgrading event venue
“The municipal governments for both Shreveport and Bossier City have high-priority economic and community development initiatives,” said Oates. “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.”
While Bossier City Mayor Tommy Chandler was not able to attend Thursday’s press conference, Shreveport Mayor Tom Arceneaux was on hand and emphasized the need for the two cities to come together to make the DMP a success.
“We need to think of ourselves as one large community,” said Arceneaux.