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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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CVB touts lasting tourism impact of Hobie tournament

CVB touts lasting tourism impact of Hobie tournament

RACELAND, LA – After seven days of fishing in Leeville, Hobie Fishing Worlds anglers have headed home. Tourism officials say the outcome of their visit will have a lasting impact on tourism thanks to positive word of mouth and expanded media coverage.

“There’s no doubt the impact of Hobie on our tourism economy will be felt in the future,” said Bayou Lafourche Convention & Visitors Bureau executive director, Timothy P. Bush. “Hobie has shined a bright light on why Leeville is truly a fishing location worth experiencing.”

Since the announcement in May, Hobie Officials have touted their selection of Leeville as the site for the 2016 Hobie Worlds Championship. As a result, Lafourche Parish has been mentioned in more than 20 newspapers and blog posts centered on the tournament.

Keeton Eoff, Hobie Fishing Worlds tournament director, said Lafourche Parish was selected because of the culture and the opportunity to give anglers a chance to experience a place like no other.

"We chose the Leeville area of Lafourche Parish based on the quality of fishing during the fall and winter, the vast, easily accessible water for kayak fishing, and the culture and hospitality of South Louisiana," said Eoff.

Guillermo Gonzales, a competitor from Fort Worth, Texas, agrees with Eoff.

“My time here in Lafourche has been awesome, everyone has been great. Everywhere you go everyone is really nice and easy to talk to. One of the greatest things about being down here is that the fishing is absolutely unbelievable,” said Gonzales.

This year’s Hobie Worlds Champion, Steve Lessard, from Baton Rouge, says many of the anglers were excited about the opportunity to catch large redfish in Leeville and will not get that experience anywhere else.

“A lot of anglers were able to check the redfish off their bucket list. Fishing here in Leeville is different when compared to other coastal areas in Louisiana because the redfish are so big. Not only do you get the three species, but somebody gets a chance to catch a 40-45 inch redfish, take a photo, and release,” said Lessard.

Bush said the parish will receive additional media coverage when the tournament airs on CBS Sports and Fox Sports networks in late February or early March 2017.

“Being showcased on two national sports networks will amplify the CVB’s marketing message to promote Lafourche Parish,” said Bush. “This type of exposure has the potential to reach other fishing enthusiast promoting why they should be fishing here. The exposure could also assist the CVB in recruiting other fishing events to Lafourche Parish.”

Don Griffin, Leeville Fishing Village and Preservation Commission chair and owner of Griffin’s Marina, said he would like to see more of these events in the parish. Griffin thinks with the addition of the Leeville Boat launch more tournaments could be in the community’s future.

“We’ve seen an impact with the new launch. It’s packed on the weekends and we see a lot of people fishing here. What brings customers here is the fishing and seafood. The Bayou Lafourche Area CVB has a good understanding of the economic impact that recreational fishing brings to the community. It’s a win and I’m glad they chose it. We hope that the continued effort in developing the launch and pier will attract more events like Hobie,” said Griffin.