Mayor calls for all festivals in N.O. to be cancelled until 2021 but Lt. Gov. 'cautiously optimistic'

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With Mayor LaToya Cantrell calling for all festivals in the city be postponed until next year, Louisiana’s tourism industry has been dealt a bone-breaking blow to the face due to the coronavirus.

“We still got eight months in the year, a lot can change,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “I’m cautiously optimistic that we are going to see this thing level out and head south quickly.”

He says there are over 400 festivals which bring millions of dollars to the state whose economy is built around the sales tax money tourism generates. But Nungesser says it will be tough to restart tourism in New Orleans and across Louisiana.

Related: Mayor Cantrell: No large events or festivals in New Orleans until 2021

“The National Tourism Association is polling every week what people are thinking,” said Nungesser. “So you want to have the events if it is safe, and you want to have the events if people want to come. So it appears that most people are thinking when this is over, they are going to do a ‘stay-cation’, which is something we have been promoting, they are going to look to a drive-market. They are not going to look as quickly to get back on a cruise ship or an airplane.”

Nungesser says the state’s tourism committee is filming commercials which will air soon, that encourage Louisiana residents to help support the tourism industry by also doing ‘stay-cations’ in Louisiana to help build back the state’s tourism economy.

“We have over 400 fairs and festivals in Louisiana,” said Nungesser. “That is one of the great draws to Louisiana, there is always something to do on any-given-weekend anywhere in the state.

He continues, “I don’t know when that day is when we are ‘back to normal’ and ‘normal’ may be different in the future but as quickly as we can bring back those things that people love to come to Louisiana for, it will save a lot of businesses that are really suffering.”