Louisiana is making an aggressive, multi-faceted push for Chinese travelers. Louisiana Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser returned home this week after a 10-day trip to promote the state in China. Nungesser’s 11-person delegation—including two of the state’s chefs—visited Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou.
Nungesser called the trip a success and believes that offering Chinese tourists a glimpse at film locations around the state will generate interest in visiting. Louisiana recently created a state film trail that runs from New Orleans, where Elvis Presley filmed “King Creole,” to the “Bonnie and Clyde” museum in Gibsland, in the state’s northwest.
The state hopes to attract visitors to more than just the film trail and highlights in New Orleans. It would like to introduce Chinese tourists to its annual events like the Sugar Cane Festival and Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival later this month. There’s also the annual French Food Festival in October and the Bucktown Seafood Festival in November. And the Smithsonian is bringing its “Water/Ways” traveling exhibition to the Schepis Museum at the end of September through November.
The Louisiana film trail runs from New Orleans to Gibsland
In what could be another boost for the state’s tourism industry, Louisiana State University will reportedly begin accepting the notoriously rigorous China National College Entrance Examination, known as the Gaokao, as part of its application for admission. The exam will be for acceptance to international courses and would replace SATs and ACTs, according to People.cn. Students would still be required to pass an English proficiency exam and an in-person interview.
Opening admissions to Chinese students with Gaokao scores may bring in more families visiting the university and state for campus tours. While the campus tours generate revenue with families requiring accommodations and transportation, subsequent admissions can bring in additional tourism spending as students’ families may visit during or in between semesters.
Currently, there are no direct flights between China and Louisiana, but Nungesser said he hoped to have them within a few years.