River Region Tourism Commission director has big plans ahead for the area

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 30, 2005



LAPLACE – Jesse Woltz calls her new position as executive director of the River Parishes Tourist Commission “the chance of a lifetime.”

Recently appointed to the position by the nine-member commission, Woltz hopes to be the catalyst to make tourism in the River Region even bigger than ever.

Most recent statistics show tourism in the region bringing $660,000 in salaries to those who work in the industry. Statewide it is an industry that is bringing approximately $10 billion to the state. She hopes some new ideas and plans will see that improve, bringing more jobs and an economic boost to businesses here.

“I have begun a number of changes, starting with bigger ads in high profile publications regionally, as well as plans to attend many conventions to promote this area,” she said. “My goal is to have people coming to New Orleans book their trip two days earlier, so they can add a visit here. I want this to become a destination entirely by itself.”

Woltz, although only in her mid-20s, brings some solid experience to the job. She worked with the Louisiana Office of Tourism in marketing for domestic and Canadian markets, gaining much knowledge that should help here.

“That job actually showed me how much I loved tourism, and was really fascinated with working in this field. It just seems like such a fun job,” she noted.

While the plantations, swamp tours, and bed and breakfasts are the main draw in the River Region, Woltz hopes to improve that appeal by focusing on the stories involving the history of the area.

“I think the stories are so fascinating in this area, and a lot of people are looking for that kind of vacation, more than just a destination,” she explained.

The River Parishes Tourist Commission has a new marketing plan entitled “Take me to the River,” and a new image with a public relations campaign called “Everything Louisiana, Just Around the Bend.”

Woltz is working on an upgraded website design, printing new collateral pieces, and putting together an overall stronger public relations campaign that includes working with local hotels and motels to boost their weekend occupancy rate with more tourists.

She is a graduate of LSU who was born in Houston, Tx., and grew up in Lake Charles, graduating from Barbe High School. She is currently single and resides in Baton Rouge.

For more information or questions about the Tourist Commission, contact Woltz at 359-2562.