Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 1:00 PM CDT
Friday, May 5, 2023 at 1:30 PM CDT

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West Baton Rouge Convention and Conference Center 
2750 North Westport Drive
Port Allen, LA 70767

Driving Directions 


Sharon Calcote 
Louisiana Office of Tourism, Louisiana Byways Program 
  Louisiana Rural Tourism & Byways Conference 
Louisiana Rural Tourism/Byways Conference will be held May 3-5, 2023 at the West Baton Rouge CVB Conference Center, Port Allen, LA. Speakers will present on a variety of topics such as group travel, international tour operators, social media and more. Registration: $35 



Wednesday, May 3   

Check Into Hotel       


1:00 p.m. - Welcome

1:15 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. - What Your Visitors Secretly Want… and How to Give it to Them

As a Louisiana tourism professional, understanding consumer trends is a critical part of your sales process. If you want to thrive – and not just survive – you need to pinpoint exactly why travelers do what they do. Why do some people choose you… while others decide to go elsewhere? In this thrilling presentation, global trends expert Daniel Levine will take you on a deep dive to reveal what your customers are actually thinking and feeling. Discover the "why" behind the "buy", understand trends that are quickly changing the travel landscape, and learn from destinations, organizations, and brands that are embracing trends and change with spectacular results.

Keynote Speaker – Daniel Levine, Executive Director of the Avant-Guide Institute. 

Daniel Levine is one of the world's best-known trends experts. Named "the ultimate guru of cool" by CNN, he is the author of over 20 best-selling books and a frequent guest on international television and radio. Daniel is the director of the Avant-Guide Institute, a New York-based trends consultancy where he is the leader of a huge team of trendspotters who track the latest ideas and experiences from around the globe. As a consultant, Daniel works with many of the top names in travel, including American Express, UNWTO, Caribbean Tourism Organization, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Virtuoso Network and more.                                                               

2:30 p.m. - Break

2:45 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. - What are International Tour Operators Looking for in a Destination? What do International Visitors Expect in Travel Experience?

Based upon what was learned from Daniel Levine, two international tour operators will discuss practical approaches to working with international tour operators and discussing what internationals want in a vacation destination.


Gisa Kusserow-Hanson. Senior Product Manager at AlliedTPro, a leading North American Receptive Operator and Destination Management Specialist

Gerrit De Vos, Vice President of Business Development at American Tours International

4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. - What is the Movie Industry Looking for in a Location?

Katie Prior, Executive Director, Baton Rouge Film Commission

5:00 p.m. - Adjourn for the Day 

Thursday, May 4

8:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. - Registration and Lite Breakfast

9:00 a.m. - Welcome and Housekeeping

9:15 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. - What is the Future of the Group Tour Industry?

Predictions from group tour experts in 2023:

  • Group tour bookings will increase
  • Tourism workforce shortages will continue
  • Flexible itineraries will become a standard
  • Operators will book smaller tours
  • Travelers want more meaningful trips

Learn ways to work directly with tour operators discovering exactly what experiences they are looking and telling them exactly what authentic experiences your destination can offer.

Speaker: Catherine Prather, President and CEO of National Tourism Association.

10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.  - Engage with Regional Marketing Groups to discover ways in which their marketing efforts benefit the Louisiana tourism industry, tourist commissions, CVBs and other constituents. 

Lyn Pilch, Mississippi River Country

Liz Bittner, President & CEO, Travel South US                              

11:15 a.m. - 12noon  - Learn from the Governor’s Office for Broadband Development and Connectivity the status of ConnectLA

As WIFI becomes more and more important in our daily lives, and remains very important to our visitors, domestic and international, this session will discuss the status of bringing broadband to communities across the state.

Veneeth Iyengar, Louisiana Executive Director for Broadband Development and Connectivity

12noon - 1:00 p.m. Networking Lunch

1:30 - 3:00 p.m. - New DCRT Programs           

The Louisiana Offices of Tourism and Cultural Development are working on exciting new initiatives that will be of interest to you as it provides you with new themes, attractions and stories to promote in your area.

  • Louisiana Birding Trail – Cheryl Hargrove
  • Louisiana Music Trail – Lacey Chataignier
  • African American Heritage Trail – Sharon Calcote
  • Update on Louisiana Civil Rights Trail – Sharon Calcote

4:00 p.m. - Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser State-of-Tourism address and Louisiana Legislative Seafood Reception at the Louisiana State Museum                           

Friday, May 5

9:00 a.m. Registration and Light Breakfast

9:00 a.m. - 12noon - Social/Digital Media Boot Camp

Krista Neher, CEO of Boot Camp Digital

Krista will walk us through ways to successfully hit your target audience with digital and social media. Krista Neher is a six-time bestselling author, having written six books on digital marketing, including a textbook and a “Dummies” book. Krista is an international speaker and an award-winning entrepreneur. She has worked with companies like Facebook, Nike, Procter & Gamble, GE, Macy’s, Google, Morgan Stanley, and the United States Senate and has been featured as an expert in the New York Times, CNN, Wall Street Journal, NBC, CBS, Entrepreneur, and the Associated Press. Krista is passionate about digital marketing and created one of the first accredited certification programs in the world.

12noon - 1:30 p.m. - Lunch and Rural Tourism Next Steps Discussion

Louisiana Tourism Needs Assessment

1:30 p.m. - Adjourn