7 years ago

Louisiana tourist board avoiding any oil slick talk on the web or social media

The role of local tourist offices and how they deal with wider issues affecting their state has resurfaced amid the catastrophic oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico.

Following last week’s furore over the controversial immigration laws passed in Arizona and its handling (or not) by the Arizona Office of Tourism, the focus now turns to the state of Louisiana, the state most likely to be on the end of what president Barack Obama has called a “potentially unprecedented” environmental disaster.

Although the state and federal governments are throwing huge resources to preventing damage to the Louisiana coastline, casual visitors to the official LouisianaTravel website and its associated presence on social networks would be none the wiser.

louisiana tourist site

In the arguably more interactive channel that is Twitter, LouisianaTravel is also silent about the oil slick currently floating a few miles of its coastline.

louisiana twitter site

NB: VisitMississippi, the neighbouring state, is also quiet about the issue.

Once again, avoiding the issue is a hugely controversial strategic decision.

Should a DMO publicly acknowledge the existence of a major environmental disaster on its doorstep, especially one that will have far-ranging consequences for local and inbound tourism?

The Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism says:

“We are currently working with our website director to add a message about the Oil Spill. The message will include that those planning a trip to Louisiana should not reschedule their trip because Louisiana’s tourist destinations are not currently being effected. We are aware that our sport fishing industry could be impacted but at this time we don’t know to what extent.”

This is the second time in half a decade that local tourist groups have faced enormous pressure as a result of a disasters not of their own making.

Hurricane Katrina decimated the local area in 2005 and hit the tourist sector as hard as of the other industry sectors in the region.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.



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  4. Graham Robertson

    I don’t think these DMO’s really considered what it means to get involved with social media. Anyone that reads my site knows that its something I think is a great tool, but it’s not for the faint of heart.

    All the “Experts” and “Gurus” out there will talk about how it will turn your business around and allow businesses to engage with their customers, but most don’t talk about times like this when you have to go in to damage control. Social media has brought down the walls that companies used to hide behind, meaning they have no choice but to engage and talk about the good and the bad.


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