Parish Tourism Leader to Depart Organization after More Than Five Years; Interim President and CEO Named
The Board of Directors of Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism, Lafourche Parish’s destination marketing organization, announced today that Timothy Bush, who has served as president and CEO since March 2015, will leave his role on October 15. Bush will be relocating to Spartanburg, South Carolina to join OneSpartanburg, Inc., South Carolina’s first consolidated business, economic and tourism development organization as Chief Tourism Development Officer.
“I am truly humbled to have had the opportunity to serve the Lafourche Parish community, tourism partners and stakeholders over the last five-plus years,” Bush said. “It has been a tremendous honor to promote tourism to one of Louisiana’s truly unique and distinctive destinations. I am so appreciative to our incredible board of directors and for the faith they put in me daily to lead this organization.”
Tourism grew exponentially under Bush’s leadership. In 2017, the Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou brand was launched, defining Lafourche Parish as an unapologetically Cajun community known for its food, culture, festivals and outdoor adventure. 2018 brought the launch of the Cajun Bayou Food Trail, garnering regional and national media attention for the parish as it showcased the culinary culture built around Cajun food. Both efforts helped increase leisure visitation during Bush’s tenure. He also oversaw the renovation of the parish’s Visitor Center and Office complex to better showcase the brand and promote an understanding of what Lafourche Parish can offer visitors.
“During the last five years, Timothy’s vision and leadership in promoting tourism for Lafourche Parish has far exceeded our expectations. His innovative strategies elevated public awareness and advanced tourism throughout the parish,” said LCBT Board Vice Chair Marguerite Knight Erwin. “He was directly responsible for the successful rebranding to Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou and recognized for numerous awards and achievements throughout his tenure here. He will be greatly missed, but we celebrate his advancement within the industry, and know that our local organization will forever be grateful for his time spent with us.”
Among the many ways Bush positively impacted the parish’s economy, he created the Tourism Investment Program to support product development throughout the parish and successfully championed legislation to increase the hotel/motel tax from three percent to four percent. In July, it was announced that Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism became an accredited destination marketing organization with distinction from Destinations International. Other honors included being named CVB of the Year in 2018 and awarded the Tourism Campaign/Promotion of the Year in 2019 by the Louisiana Travel Association.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to thank Timothy for all his hard work and commitment to building tourism in Lafourche Parish,” said LCBT Board Chair Jeremy Punch. “Timothy’s passion and knowledge of tourism helped to elevate Lafourche Parish tourism to a level we had not previously experienced. Lafourche Parish as a tourism destination is solidly positioned with a strong brand and a platform that resonates forward growth. While we are sad to see him go, we wish him well in this next chapter of his career and are truly appreciative of his service to our community.”
Cody Gray, the tourism office’s current director of sales and marketing, will begin serving as interim president and CEO of the organization effective October 16. Gray joined the tourism team earlier this year, moving from his home state of Florida to Lafourche Parish in the midst of a pandemic because he saw so much tourism potential in this region.
“Timothy has built a very strong destination promotion and management organization that continues to play a vital role to our communities in Lafourche Parish,” Gray said. “As COVID-19 has shown us, the travel industry plays a significant role in our local economy. I am very honored and excited to work with the board of directors, LCBT team and all our partners to continue advancing and building the future of the tourism industry in Lafourche Parish.”
Punch said Gray will have the board’s full support over the next several months as the organization evaluates what comes next.
“Transitions and change are never easy, but from a continuity standpoint, we as a board of directors are confident in the abilities of Cody Gray,” said Punch. “Though he has only been with us for a short period of time, his seven years of experience in the tourism industry is certainly a foundation on which to grow. As we evaluate what’s next for our organization, we are confident in his abilities to continue the momentum of increasing tourism opportunities. He has already demonstrated through his time with the organization his attention to detail and a level of professionalism that is required of a leader. We look forward to working with him during this transition.”