The new Northwest Louisiana Film Trail brochure has really drawn attention to Webster Parish. The new brochure was the feature story on KTBS Channel 3 News in July. Then it was featured in an editorial in the July-August issue of Travel Host Magazine.
This month it is featured on the cover and in an editorial of the October issue of Louisiana Road Trips Magazine. Rick Rowe has requested to do a show about the movies in Minden and the new brochure as soon as the new signage has been installed around Minden. The Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission has the new brochure available at our office and 69 other official visitors’ centers around the state.
During the Lt. Governor’s Tourism Summit in August, I had the opportunity to meet again with the international sales representatives for Germany, Canada and the UK, contracted by the Louisiana Office of Tourism. They visited Webster Parish in 2013 and then we made sales calls to travel agents and group tour operators together in Germany and the UK early this year.
Through working with the Louisiana Office of Tourism and their international sales representatives, 1000 brochures have recently been shipped to travel agents and group tour operators in Germany, England and Canada. Our office just completed a detailed itinerary to provide to the travel agents and group tour operators to compliment the brochures.
This is an important element that I learned on our sales calls during the Lt. Governor’s sales mission to Germany and the UK in February. The more we do for the travel agents and tour operators who package and sell tours to make their job easier, the more chance we have to see international visitors in Webster Parish in 2015.
Other efforts being made by Webster Parish Tourism include working closely with Pattie Odom, Downtown Development Director with the City of Minden, and four other cites included in the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights to attract visitors and group tours to Webster Parish during the Christmas holidays.
Johnnye Kennon and I worked for two days at the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights booth at the East Texas State Fair on September 25th and 26th inviting East Texas families to visit our parish in November and December. The life size nutcrackers were definitely a hit!
In hopes of attracting group tours to our parish, I am serving as the chairman of the group tour sales committee for the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights this year. The committee has made sales calls on group tour operators in the cities of Houston and Nacogdoches in Texas and Eldorado, Arkadelphia, Pine Bluff, Conway, Hot Springs, Benton, and Little Rock in Arkansas.
We are also inviting group tour planners to visit our cities on December 11th -14th to see first-hand what each city has to offer while we are all dressed up for the holidays. We hope they will be so impressed they will make sure the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights is on their tour schedule for 2015. Our goal for 2015 is to make sales calls starting in June and add retirement communities such as Hot Springs Village to our list.
The City of Minden was featured in the most recent issue of In Magazine in a wonderful article “Minden, Ready for the Spotlight”. Our office invited the editor of In Magazine, Danny Mogle, to visit Minden in early July to learn about what we have to offer to their readers in East Texas. In his feature story he tells about our heritage and discusses the Germantown Colony and the Dorcheat Museum. He tells about the great food at Café on Main, City Artworks, the wide variety of shops on Main Street and the movies shot in Minden. Then he tells about Minden’s secret weapon, Milly Rose. He describes her “Miss Milly, whose fire-engine red hair is sticking out below a leopard skin hat, is here to sing the praises of Minden as a tourist attraction. She’s good at it-very good.” Then he quotes her, “This is one hot, happening little city.” We still have copies at our office if you would like to pick one up.
The 31st Annual Springhill Lumberjack Festival will be held on October 10-11, at the Frank Anthony Park on Church Street in Springhill, Louisiana. Festivities will begin at noon on Friday and will continue through Saturday.
This year’s festival will feature “The Great Lakes Timber Show”, as seen on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, ESPN, Good Morning America, and the Today Show and covered by the Associated Press and USA Today. Coming all the way from Escanaba, MI, this group of Master Lumberjacks will put on four shows each day featuring chainsaw carving, axe throwing, antiques logging tools, modified chain sawing, and log rolling. Plenty of audience participation and loads of clean, family fun!
In addition to the Great Lakes Timber Show, there will be Live Entertainment on the outside stage and the Annual Car, Truck, Motorcycle, and Tractor Shows.
Lynn Dorsey is executive director of the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau.