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President and CEO of Visit Baton Rouge retiring after 20 years

2 years 4 months 2 weeks ago Wednesday, December 01 2021 Dec 1, 2021 December 01, 2021 3:45 PM December 01, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ
Photo: Visit Baton Rouge

BATON ROUGE - The long-time President and CEO of Visit Baton Rouge, Paul Arrigo, said he will retire in 2022.

Read the full statement below: 

“Throughout my tenure in this industry I’ve been mentored by some the industry’s greatest tourism leaders, Arrigo said. “The dedicated and outstanding staff that I have had the honor of working with through the years has allowed me to accomplish so much in the various roles that I have served in.”

Arrigo recently informed Scott Michelet, Chairman of the Board of Directors of his plans to retire in September 2022. The board members will meet in mid-December regarding their plans for filling the position.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors we are thankful for Paul’s guidance, leadership and vision over the past last two decades, especially over the last two years as this industry has faced its most challenging times. His strategic thinking and planning have helped us get to where we are today,” said Michelet. “The Board will be working together to find the most qualified and best suited person with that will continue to move this industry and Parish forward as a thriving tourism destination.”

Arrigo is a native of New Orleans and proud of his early upbringing in the Gentilly neighborhood. A graduate of the University of New Orleans, he knew early on that a career in the hospitality industry would be long-term. He got his start at the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, better known today as New Orleans & Company. While there, he perfected his sales approach and worked for one of the tourism industry’s most well-respected leaders, Ed McNeill. McNeill would go on to appoint Arrigo to oversee the New Orleans CVB’s first satellite office in Washington, D.C.

Arrigo has achieved impressive accomplishments during his five decades in the tourism industry. In 1997, he relocated from our nation’s capital to Louisiana’s Capital City to serve as Vice President of Sales and Marketing at the Baton Rouge Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, better known today as Visit Baton Rouge. He also earned one of the industry’s highest achievements, becoming a Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME). In 2002, with the departure of his successor, Leon Maisel, Arrigo became the agency’s next President and CEO. He was responsible for transforming the Baton Rouge area into a tourism destination. During the last 20 years, the city has seen exponential growth in the number of meetings and conventions secured and welcomed, as well as an increase in domestic and international leisure visitors.

Next year will be a notable year for the agency. Visit Baton Rouge will celebrate its 50th anniversary. Prior to Arrigo retiring, there are plans for an assessment study of the Raising Cane’s River Center. He will oversee the completion of Visit Baton Rouge’s reaccreditation, as well as DestinationNEXT, a scenario model and assessment tool that will help our stakeholders strategically evaluate the city and Parish as a tourism destination. The results will serve as the guide for the agency’s multiyear Strategic Plan.

“This assessment is the only one of its kind in the tourism and business events industry and has been recognized as one of the most significant developments in the management of a tourism destination in recent years to build upon the overall strategy of further developing and enhancing a tourism destination,” said Arrigo. “I’m excited to complete this so that Visit Baton Rouge will be positioned for a successful start and future under the new leadership.”

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