While many of us may take tourism for granted, visitors like to come to Southwest Louisiana. Whether it's through one of the area gaming destinations or just traveling down the interstate, the Lake Charles area is a destination for visitors.
"Tourism has a great economic impact on Southwest Louisiana," said Megan Hartman, Senior Marketing Manager at the Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Last year, it brought $358 million dollars to Calcasieu Parish. That's tax money that we're not having to spend, because of what tourists are spending whenever they come to visit."
Many of those visitors stop at the Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau on Lakeshore Drive to get advice on local things to see.
"We have brochures displayed from the entire state of Louisiana," Hartman said. "We have a SWLA section and then we move on to other regions of the state."
The gift shop is also popular.
"When people come to Louisiana and particularly SWLA, they love gators," said Public Relations Manager Kaylen Fletcher. "They want to see authentic alligators. We even have an alligator pond located here at the Convention and Visitors Bureau and we have alligator heads and teeth."
Tourism week starts Saturday, May 4, with several events planned, including a chance to vote on the area's top 20 restaurants.
"Everybody is going to have a chance to vote on three restaurants," said Hartman. "Entries will be submitted and calculated together. Then the top restaurants will have these window clings in their window at their restaurant."
For more information on Tourism Week events, go to www.visitlakecharles.org