NEW ORLEANS — Tourism between Louisiana and Canada is a top priority for Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser.
He says Canadians are Louisiana’s main visitors and one particular sport is an added attraction.
Rugby is not only one of the fastest growing sports, but it’s also becoming a big tourism draw for Louisiana and Canada.
NOLA Gold Rugby owner Tim Falcon said, “They’re snowed in during the early part of our season and they come to play down here in the winter and we go play up there when it starts getting hot. It’s a great way for people to come back and forth and travel in Canada or come down here.”
According to Nungesser, more than 188,000 Canadians visited the state in 2019. Although the Canada-US border is closed until at least mid-May, Canadians are already planning vacations in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette.
Nungesser said, “We’re doing all these things that we can to keep them hungry for Louisiana. When they’re able to travel, they’re heading south and coming to see us.”
The Consul General of Canada, Rachel McCormick said, “We look forward to being able to come back. Although the borders are closed, we’ve been able to keep all of the central trade going, but we look forward to the borders opening again so we can welcome people to Canada and we can have them down here.”
Canadian visitor spending increased to $214 million in 2019, a total increase of nearly 10% in five years.
Nungesser believes Louisiana’s Canadian relationship is like no other.
“You can feed your soul with fishing, food, fun, rugby and in so many ways,” Nungesser said. “The Canadians when I visit Canada, I ask why do you send people to Louisiana and they say because you treat strangers like family. Nowhere else in the world do we send people and they come back with a friend for life.”
On Sunday, NOLA Gold will host the Toronto Arrows at 11:00 at the Gold Mine on Airline.