After leading the Livingston Parish Convention and Visitor’s Bureau through some of the parish’s most progressive years, Executive Director Eric Edwards is still going strong.

One of his newest ventures to promote the growing parish is a mobile application.

“We’re moving forward with building a mobile app and a mobile website,” Edwards said, adding the bureau will use the apps to closely market to online users.

“It gives me more options to tell more people about Livingston Parish,” Edwards said, people like those on sporting teams, outdoorsmen, those who enjoy water sports and “snow birds.”

The new way of marketing to visitors to Livingston Parish is very different from that of five years ago.

When Edwards first took on the position in 2006, he said he was looking for a new career, something “small” that could grow.

“I knew it would be large one day,” Edwards now says of the Livingston Parish tourism industry.

But, before agreeing to take over as the organization’s executive director, Edwards did his homework and, in fact, “looked at economic factors and statistics,” he said.

After combing through a barrage of information, Edwards said he came to one conclusion: “I thought, this place is fixing to boom.”

He said when people consider visiting or relocating to places, they first think about the cost, safety and the location.

“Location, location, location,” Edwards emphasized.

With more hotels and plenty of new businesses cropping up almost daily, Edwards said even when the new mobile apps are complete, he still plans to visit cities throughout the United States and Canada to promote Livingston Parish.

“We still have a lot of available land,” Edwards said. “Top that off with a great school system and low crime.”

Edwards said the retirement community in Livingston Parish will “almost double in the next 15 years.”

Retirees and others who visit and live in the parish want health care that is close to where they live or stay, and “things to do.”

In Livingston Parish, visitors and residents can enjoy golf, water sports like boating and fishing, and businesses such as Bass Pro Shops and those in the antique district, he said.

Many also visit LIGO — Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory — one of only two in the United States, the Tiki zip line, Carter Plantation house and Juban Crossing, he said.

“Investors are looking at it (Juban Crossing) as a springboard to other developments,” Edwards said.

With new developments comes new jobs and a closer proximity to work for many Livingston Parish residents, Edwards said.

When evaluating Livingston Parish and its diverse culture, five years after taking over the helm as director, Edwards still has no doubts about the future success of tourism.

“All that makes a wonderful mix in what people want in the value of life,” Edwards said.

For more information, log onto http://visitlivingstonparish.com/contact.php, call (225) 567-7899 or (888) 317-7899, or email info@visitlivingstonparish.com. The Livingston Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau is located at 30340 Catholic Hall Road in Albany.