Study: BBHF had $178K impact

Published 5:39 am Friday, April 28, 2017

The Southeastern Louisiana University Research Center, which is jointly operated by the Southeast Louisiana Business Center and the Southeastern College of Business, has released the results of its Estimated Economic Impact Study of the 2016 Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival on Washington Parish, and the impact was significant.

The study concluded that when other property-type income impacts of $41,468 and local taxes of $18,454 are added to the estimated earnings impacts, the 2016 BBHF contributed a total of $178,543 of “value-added impacts” to the Washington Parish economy.

“When you have over 2,500 people bringing their dollars in, that’s significant,” said Herb Holloway, director of the project. “It’s especially important when so few events draw people to Bogalusa from outside of the region, and especially outside the state. It’s exciting to have an event like that, stimulating interest.”

The study also estimated where the 2016 BBHF attendees were from, and concluded that approximately 23 percent lived in Washington Parish, 46 percent were from other parishes in Louisiana, and that 31 percent were from outside Louisiana, including a total 0.6 percent who were international visitors. That’s more than 75 percent non-local.

Those who responded to the survey listed Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Tennessee, Kansas, Arizona, South Carolina, Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia, and even New Zealand as their homes.

More than 96 percent said they came to the area specifically to attend the festival. The majority of attendees who responded said they were paying expenses not just for themselves, but for their family or group as well, with lodging making up the largest per-person expenditure. Lodging was followed by prepared food and beverages, and then souvenirs.

The estimated impact expenditures of non-local attendees who came to Bogalusa specifically for the festival was $259,076.

In summary, the study says, “The impressive number of non-local attendees brought an influx of ‘new money’ into Washington Parish, leading to a value-added impact of approximately $179,000 on the parish’s economy…

“Over the five years since its inception in 2012, the Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival has won accolades from both the tourism and music industries and attracted visitors to Bogalusa from across the country and world. With continued attention to growing and improving the festival, and focused efforts on inviting and welcoming visitors from outside the parish, the number of non-local attendees and the economic impacts of their spending on the Washington Parish economy should only increase in the future.”