People love coming to Louisiana. It's pretty easy to see why. We have some of the most friendly people on the planet. We have food that you simply can't find anywhere else. We love having a party and we love being outside. Maybe that's why more than 51 million people chose to spend their travel and tourism dollars in our state over the last year.

Part of the reason we are seeing so many visitors could be that we have more places for them to stay. The state now has over 100,000 hotel rooms. That's an increase of about 4% when compared to just three years ago.

Why we really like tourists in Louisiana is the money they spend. During 2018 guests in our state left behind more than $18.8 billion dollars. That resulted in over $1.9 billion in state and local taxes. That's $1.9 billion that you and I didn't have to pull out of our pockets to keep our state fiscally responsible.

Oh, one more aspect of these great tourism numbers. Over a quarter of a million people earn a living through jobs connected to travel and tourism in the state. If you really want to see some impressive numbers just spend a minute figuring out how much money those jobs add to our state's bottom line through sales taxes and income taxes. Trust me, it's a lot of money.

To me, the bottom line is this. We are all ambassadors of our state. That means we should all take an interest in knowing what tourist might want to see when they visit our communities. Maybe it's time we, the residents of Louisiana, took a little tourism and travel refresher course so we can recommend the very best our state has to offer.