“The staff at the Natchitoches Convention and Visitors Bureau enjoys meeting and making the visitors feel welcome and we are often the first stop after they arrive in town,” says Executive Director Arlene Gould.
The CVB staff offers maps and brochures, tells visitors about ongoing events and takes time to share stories of the history of the area. “We ask visitors where they are from, if it is their first time to visit Natchitoches, what brought them here and we often have to give lessons on the pronunciation of Nack-a-tish!” Gould says. “ We are passionate about our jobs and proud of our community. It is also a great opportunity to meet visitors from around the world.” Natchitoches CVB has received over 350 international visitors in the office since January from Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Vietnam. The bureau works with many tourism partners locally, including the Cane River National Heritage Area, APHN, Natchitoches Historic Foundation and other local, state and national agencies.
The CVB also works with the La. Office of Tourism and the Louisiana Travel Association and the La. Association for Convention and Visitors Bureaus.
Gould is a board member for Louisiana Travel Association and Association of Convention and Visitors Bureau. The bureau is a regional marketing partner with the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights, the El Camino Real de los Tejas Caddo Region and more recently with the Five Parish’s West/No Man’s Land to promote the 200th anniversary of “No Man’s Land” or the “Neutral Strip” that became Louisiana. The Christmas Festival is always a huge draw for visitors and the office receives thousands of inquiries wanting information. The Southeast Tourism Society awarded the festival “2018 Shining Example Award for Top Festival of the Year” and the Louisiana Travel Association named the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights “Festival/Event of the Year.” Natchitoches was a founding member of the La. Holiday Trail of Lights that will mark 25 years this season. New Orleans Magazine, a Renaissance Publication, named the festival “Top Festival in the State.”
The CVB advertising and marketing for 2018 included print/digital and/or broadcast ads in AAA Southern Traveler, AARP, Magazine, Bank Travel, Louisiana Christmas brochure, Fall Travel Newspaper and online insert in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Baton Rouge Advocate, Chattanooga Times, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, Jackson Clarion, Louisville Courier, Memphis, Nashville, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa; Convention South, Garden and Gun, Hoffman Media-Southern Lady, Tea Time and Victoria, Louisiana Cookin’, Leisure Group Travel, Louisiana Culinary Trails, LA Fishing and Outdoor Guide, Louisiana Kitchen, Oxford America, Travel South, LTA Travel and Adventure Recipe Book, Student Youth Travel, Team Louisiana Sports, Texas Monthly, American Road, American Airlines/American Way, Big Blend Magazine, Brushpile Fishing, Convention South, Brand USA, Country Roads, Escape to the Southeast, The Forum, Graham Group Programmatics, Group Tour magazine, Group Travel Destinations, Horizon Travel and Lifestyle magazine, Kreol International magazine, KTBS, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, KPXJ, LA Society of Association Executives, Miles Media/Louisiana State Tour Guide, Natchitoches Times, New Orleans Magazine, LA Life, LA Tax Free Shopping directory, Society of American Travel Writers, Small Market Meetings, Southern Living, Suddenlink/ESPN, Tour Louisiana, Where to Retire, USA Today, New Orleans Saints Gameday and New Orleans Pelicans program.
The bureau has also participated in the New York Times Travel Show and the Los Angeles Travel and Adventure Show, Southeast Tourism Society in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Travel South International in Nashville, Tenn. “Again, we are passionate about our mission to promote Natchitoches and are proud of the recognition and awards that have been bestowed upon our community,” Gould said.
The bureau has two full-time employees including Gould, who became the executive director in 2007; and Kelli West, director of marketing and communications. Part-time employees are Anne Cummings and Heather Lockwood, travel counselors. There is a vacancy for a group sales manager.
NATCHITOCHES ACCOLADES 2018
October One of “11 Best Small Towns to Visit for Christmas in the U.S.” by TripsToDiscover.com One of Louisiana’s 21 “2018 Readers’ Choice Award” winners by ConventionSouth Magazine September One of 10 “Hottest Southern Soundscapes” by ConventionSouth Magazine July #1 “America’s 25 Cutest Main Streets in Small Towns”- Fodor’s April Christmas Festival named “Top 20 Festival of the Year – Shining Example Award” in Tourism by Southeast Tourism Society “The Best Small Town in Louisiana” – Southern Living Magazine January “The Best Places to Travel in 2018”- Expedia Travel Blog Holiday Trail of Lights “Festival/Event of the Year” -Louisiana Travel Promotion Association Christmas named “Top Festival in the State” – New Orleans Magazine 2017 December One of “8 Tax-Friendly Cities,” Where to Retire Magazine “The Most Festive Place in Every State BusinessInsider.com “10 Best Weekend Getaways in Louisiana” – TripsToDiscover.com November “50 Christmas Towns in All 50 States” – Cheapism.com Christmas Festival “The South’s Best Christmas Festivals” – Southern Living “10 Small Christmas Towns with the Most Holiday Spirit” – Reader’s Digest “The Most Adorable Small Town in Every US State” – MSN.com July One of “The 15 Most Beautiful Main Streets Across America”-Architectural Digest June “The 50 Most Beautiful Towns to Visit in Each US State” – Culture Trip March Front Street one of ”The South’s Most Charming Streets” – Southern Living Magazine April Melrose Arts & Crafts Festival a ‘Top 20 Event’ – Southeast Tourism Society July Natchitoches–NSU Folk Festival a ‘Top 20 Event’ – Southeast Tourism Society February Natchitoches Parish one of “The 10 Most Beautiful Parishes In Louisiana” – Culture Trip February “2016 South’s Best Small Towns” – Southern Living January Natchitoches CVB named “Outstanding CVB of 2017 (Budget up to $499,999)” by Louisiana Travel Promotion Association