With a Presidential visit, strong 2007 visitor numbers, a seven-day Jazz and Heritage Festival line-up, a record-breaking French Quarter Festival, a first-round NBA playoff win for the New Orleans Hornets and successful major meetings and conferences, New Orleans’ tourism industry is continuing into the spring with momentum.
2008 Latest News:
The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) presented the Cable Show at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center May 17-20, 2008. The annual convention showcased upcoming trends in the cable world and celebrated the industry with over 14,000 attendees. Cable Cares, an industry-wide community service initiative, provided a hand to schools throughout the New Orleans area. This year, hundreds of workers from Cable Cares were committed to rebuilding two new playgrounds for elementary schools, wired a school with advanced cable services, painted and landscaped the grounds of a local high school and donated thousands of books to libraries in need through a book drive.
New Orleans will be the site of the 2009 National Automobile Dealers Association’s (NADA) Convention & Exposition, January 24-27, with an estimated 25,000 attendees. During its board meeting in New Orleans on May 15, 2008, the NADA Charitable Foundation kept with their theme of “Commitment to Community” by donating $400,000 to the Brees Dream Foundation for the repair of the athletic field at Lusher High School.
Travel Weekly, the travel trade’s leading magazine, partnered with the New Orleans CVB and the Hotel Monteleone to host the first annual Travel Weekly New Orleans Leadership Forum on May 22, 2008. The forum brought together high-ranking tourism officials and members of New Orleans’ tourism industry to talk about new and innovative ways to market the city.
J. Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans CVB, was nominated to serve on three of the most prestigious boards in the tourism industry. On May 20, 2008, Perry was sworn in by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez as a member of the United States Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. He was also recently named a member of the Travel Industry of America's Board of Directors and will serve on the Public Policy Committee, and was unanimously nominated to become the Secretary-Treasurer of the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) Board of Directors.
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport tied for third place in the J.D. Powers 2008 North American Airport Satisfaction Index Study in the small airport category. The study is based on more than 21,165 passengers who took a round-trip flight between April 2007 and March 2008.
April 21-22, 2008, New Orleans successfully hosted U.S. President George W. Bush, Mexican President Felipe Calder๓n and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the North American Leaders’ Summit (NALS). The leaders met to discuss the future prosperity of the North American continent and addressed issues such as free trade and immigration. President Bush chose New Orleans as the Summit destination to showcase the city’s resurgence as a meeting destination.
The New Orleans Hornets defeated the Dallas Mavericks in the first series of the NBA playoffs. This marked the first New Orleans Hornets’ first-round playoff win. Hornets head coach Byron Scott received the honor of NBA Coach of the Year for his leadership during the Hornets 56-26 regular season. The New Orleans Hornets returned full-time to the city for the 2007-2008 NBA basketball season.
On May 1, 2008, the first direct JetBlue Airways flight from Boston landed in New Orleans. With the addition of this non-stop flight, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport now reports 138 flights serving 38 cities.
Despite a damp start, the rainy weather could not delay the success of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, April 25-27 and May 1-4, 2008. The festival resumed its seven day line-up with all-star performances by Sheryl Crow, Al Green, The Neville Brothers, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Tim McGraw, Santana, Alison Krauss, Rebirth Brass Band, Irma Thomas and many more. Jazz Fest attendance reached 375,000 in 2007, the highest since 2003. By some early estimates, 2008 crowds appeared even larger.
The 25th Annual French Quarter Fest, April 11 – 13, 2008, had record-breaking attendance with an estimated 435,000 festival-goers. Jackson Square, Woldenberg Riverfront Park, Bourbon Street and the Old U.S. Mint hosted over 150 musical performances and nearly 60 food and beverage venues for the “World’s Largest Jazz Brunch.” French Quarter Festival is now the largest free festival in the South. On Sunday, April 15, 2007, the Fest set a single-day attendance record with 208,000 people.
New Orleans’s 2007 Visitor Numbers increased from 3.7 million in 2006 to 7.1 million in 2007 according to a survey conducted by the University of New Orleans Hospitality Research Center for the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau and New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. In 2007 visitors spent a total of $4.8 billion, compared to $2.8 billion in 2006. Continued marketing, sales and promotion will be key to achieving pre-Katrina visitor levels of 8.5 million people per year.
The American Library Association (ALA) announced that it will bring its annual conference to New Orleans in 2011 and 2018. The 65,000-member organization brought the first city-wide conference post-Katrina to the city in 2006, with nearly 17,000 librarians and library supporters in attendance.
YouTube and Google announced their plans for New Orleans to host a major post-convention presidential forum in September 2008. The forum would feature the major party presidential candidates and would precede the first scheduled debate in Oxford, Miss.
Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, appointed Mayor C. Ray Nagin to travel to Zhenzhou, China to attend the International Mayor's Forum on Tourism where Mayor Nagin joined more than 400 mayors from China and around to world to discuss world tourism in April 2008.
The Louisiana Office of Tourism announced the first phase of the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail, a list of historical sites honoring African Americans in Louisiana that changed the world through their ideas, art and actions. Beginning in New Orleans, guests are invited to take a tour of Louisiana and visit churches, universities, marketplaces, caf้s and the many other historical sites that contribute to Louisiana’s unique culture.
Thanks to millions of travelers, New Orleans was recognized by TripAdvisorฎ for the 2008 Travelers’ Choice Destinations Award in the categories of Top 100 World and Top 25 United States.
The 2008 PGA Zurich Classic was held at the Tournament Players Club of Louisiana (TPC) on March 24-30, 2008. Andr้s Romero won the tournament after shooting a final round 68 and 13-under-par.
Prospect.1, the largest biennial of international contemporary art ever organized in the United States, announced the 81 local, national and international artists that will participate in the exhibit on view November 1, 2008-January 18, 2009, in over 100,000 square feet of exhibition space located throughout the city.
New Orleans was the site for the celebration of “V to the Tenth,” April 10 & 11, which brought many celebrities to New Orleans for a historic benefit performance and a celebration of the 10th Anniversary of “The Vagina Monologues.”
The Audubon Insectarium is the largest free standing museum in the U.S. dedicated to insects. It is opening in New Orleans on June 13, 2008. The Audubon Insectarium has 900,000+ know species of insects and their relatives.
On February 14–17, 2008, New Orleans successfully hosted the NBA All-Star Events as well as the NBA All-Star Jam Session. Approximately 50,000 to 60,000 visitors poured into the city having an estimated economic impact of $80-90 million. On February 15, 2008, through NBA Cares, more than 2,500 volunteers in the NBA community came together to participate in the NBA's Day of Service, where volunteers helped build homes and playgrounds, revitalize schools, and refurbish neighborhoods
Pittconฎ 2008, the 59th Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy, was held March 1-7 in New Orleans. Attendance was approximately 19,535. They have also reconfirmed New Orleans for the 2013 conference. Pittconฎ has been an extraordinary ambassador to New Orleans, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to the science departments of the New Orleans public schools. Pittcon 2008 President John A. Varine said, "New Orleans turned out to be an outstanding venue for Pittcon 2008 in March. The Convention Center, French Quarter and downtown areas are in better condition than ever and the restaurants are excellent, as always. The assistance provided to us by the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Convention Center staff and the hotel staffs were wonderful. We had a great conference and exposition and can’t wait to go back."
The American Heart Association (AHA)/American Stroke Association (ASA) International Stroke Conference with the State-of-the-Art Stroke Nursing Symposium, was held February 19-22, 2008. AHA’s Annual Scientific Sessions, is slated for New Orleans, November 9-12, 2008, with an approximate attendance of 27,500.
Mardi Gras festivities began on January 25, 2008, and concluded on Fat Tuesday, February 5, 2008. City officials estimate that 750-850,000 visitors enjoyed Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras was a resounding success in February 2007, with an estimated crowd of 800,000 and area hotels reporting a 95 percent occupancy rate throughout the last weekend of Mardi Gras.
Bobby Jindal was inaugurated as Louisiana Governor on January 14, 2008. Jindal at thirty-six years of age, is the nation’s youngest governor and his focus on creating a fresh start for Louisiana in ethics, education, economic infrastructure and healthcare will dramatically improve New Orleans’ image in the nation’s eyes.
The Allstate BCS National Championship was held January 7, 2008, where the Louisiana State University Tigers defeated the Ohio State University Buckeyes before a Sugar Bowl/Superdome record crowd of 79,651. Economic impact was $250 million.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl was held January 1, 2008, featuring the University of Georgia Bulldogs and the University of Hawaii Warriors. Approximately 74,383 people attended the game, with thousands more visiting the city, and an economic impact of $150 million.
Tuesday following the BCS National Championship game, more than 19,000 passengers flew out of the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, making it the airport’s busiest travel day since August 2005. On the Monday following the second weekend of Jazz Fest, the airport had nearly 18,000 passengers, making it the second-busiest day.
New Orleans was among the top 10 spring break destinations for 2008 by StudentUniverse.com, an online travel agency specializing in vacations for college students. Sherman’s Travel also had New Orleans in its 2008 top 10 “places to go.”
Delta Air Lines Sky Magazine featured a 44-page Portrait Feature on New Orleans in its January 2008 issue.
New Orleans will host the Arena Football League Championship Game for the second time. The game will be held on Sunday, July 27, 2008, at 3 p.m. ET. It was said that ArenaBowl XXI weekend in July 2007 was one of the most successful events in AFL history.
Ron Forman, CEO of the Audubon Nature Institute, has taken the helm as 2008 Chairman of the Board of the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau.
With consumers battling high gas-prices, New Orleans is offering many discounts and festivals this summer:
New Orleans Wine and Food Experience: May 21-25, 2008
Greek Festival New Orleans 2008: May 23-25, 2008
Back to the Beach Festival: May 30- June 1, 2008
Louisiana Seafood Festival, Cajun/Zydeco Music Festival and French Market Creole Tomato Festival: June 7-10, 2008
Essence Music Festival: July 4-6, 2008
Tales of the Cocktail: July 16-20, 2008
COOLinary New Orleans: July1- August 31, 2008
Satchmo SummerFest: July31- August 3, 2008
White Linen Night: August 2, 2008
Dirty Linen Night: August 9, 2008
Meetings (3,000 or more in attendance) in 2008 include:
Allied Social Sciences Association/Jan. 3-5/8,000
American Farm Bureau/Jan. 12-15/5,704
Helen Brett Enterprises/Feb. 8-12/15,000
American Traffic Safety Services Association/Feb. 9-12/4,720
National Basketball Association/Feb. 14-17/10,000
Pittsburgh Conference & Expo/Mar. 1-6/19,535
The Minerals Metals Materials Society/Mar. 8-12/3,700
American Physical Society/Mar. 9-13/7,100
Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development/Mar. 14-17/12,500
NACE, International/Mar. 16-20/5,500
American Chemical Society/Apr. 6-9/14,000
Population Association of America/Apr. 16-18/3,197
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival/Apr. 23-May 6/80,000
American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists/May 1-9/8,900
Helen Brett Enterprises/May 16-21/15,000
National Cable & Telecommunications Association/May 17-20/14,000
American Association of Airport Executives/ June 8-11/ 2,600
Society of Nuclear Medicine/June 13-17/7,000
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools/June 22-24/4,000
Institute of Food Technologists/June 28-July 1/20,000
Essence Festivals, LLC/July 3-5/28,221
U.S. Department of Labor/July 14-16/3,500
American Veterinary Medical Association/July 18-22/7,500
National Conference of State Legislatures/July 22-26/8,000
Louisiana Restaurant Association/Aug. 2-4/16,000
American Correctional Association/Aug. 9-13/10,725
Blacks in Government/Aug. 10-15/5,000
American Public Works Association/Aug. 16-19/6,500
American Heart Association/Nov. 9-12/27,500
American Society of Consultant Pharmacists/Nov. 18-22/4,000
Helen Brett Enterprises/Nov. 21-24/15,000
Diversified Business Communications/Dec. 3-5/14,000
Voodoo Music Experience, October 26-28, 2007, entertained a total approximate attendance of more than 100,000. City Park was the site for three days of concerts, which featured such acts as Rage Against the Machine, The Smashing Pumpkins and Fall Out Boy.
August 29-September 2, 2007, saw the return of Southern Decadence, which has taken place in New Orleans for more than 30 years. Dubbed the “Gay Mardi Gras,” this year’s event in the French Quarter drew an estimated crowd of 100,000 people, with an economic impact of $95 million, according to festival organizers.
The Downtown Development District, Canal Street Development Corporation and the City of New Orleans have completed the Canal Street sidewalk and landscaping project. Canal Street: A National Treasure celebrated this accomplishment September 8, 2007, with a full day of fun, music and food. The $17 million Canal Street Improvement Project includes new brick and granite sidewalks from the river to Claiborne Avenue, 239 palm trees and other landscaping. It is a joint project of the Canal Street Development Corporation and the Downtown Development District.
The first weekend of August 2007 saw more great cultural events in New Orleans. Satchmo SummerFest, August 2-5, and the Contemporary Arts Center’s (CAC) Whitney White Linen Night, August 4, both embraced thousands. Early estimates from the CAC put White Linen Night’s attendance at approximately 18,000. Satchmo Scummerfest, which celebrates the life of Louis Armstrong, featured music and food in the French Quarter and White Linen Night celebrated New Orleans’ arts community in the Warehouse District.
Tales of the Cocktail, a cocktail and culinary festival headquartered at the Hotel Monteleone, celebrated its fifth birthday July 18-22, 2007. From educational seminars to fine dining, Tales of the Cocktail drew an estimated 12,000 attendees.
July 5-7, 2007 saw the successful return of the ESSENCE Music Festival, the largest African-American festival in the country. After a one-year absence, ESSENCE was a significant New Orleans milestone, with over 200,000 attendees and over $100 million in economic impact.
According to festival organizers, the 1st Annual Louisiana Seafood Festival, the Cajun/Zydeco Festival and the Creole Tomato Festival, June 8-10, 2007, drew an estimated crowd of nearly 40,000 to the French Quarter.
Page 6/ New Orleans Hospitality Industry Report, 2nd Quarter 2008
Two very successful art exhibits closed the first weekend in June 2007, after welcoming large crowds. The New Orleans Museum of Art’s Femme, femme, femme exhibit closed June 3, with nearly 80,000 visitors and the Old Ursuline Convent’s Vatican Mosaic Studio closed June 1, 2007, with 55,000 visitors from all 50 states and eight countries.
2007 Meetings & Conventions Milestones
The American Society of Agronomy (ASA), the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), National League of Cities (NLC) and Diversified Business Communications’ International Workboat Show all enjoyed successful meetings and conventions in New Orleans in November 2007. AAO welcomed approximately 22,000 attendees and NLC’s final attendance was 4,742. The Workboat Show, which announced during their visit that they would return to New Orleans in 2008, had a 10 percent increase in exhibit space and 7.5 percent increase in attendance over 2006.
Rhythms of the South Marketplace, a partnership between the New Orleans, Atlanta and Nashville convention and visitors bureaus, completed its successful meeting November 29-December 2, 2007. The gathering included more than 100 tour operators and journalists from 25 countries meeting with tourism suppliers from 12 Southern states.
The New Orleans CVB is pleased to announce that the Professional Convention Management Association will bring 3,000 meeting industry leaders to New Orleans January 10-14, 2009, for its annual convention.
The American Association of Orthodontists re-confirmed New Orleans as the host city for their 114th Annual Session in 2014. The expected attendance is 20,000.
The American College of Surgeons met in New Orleans October 6-10, 2007, with an approximate attendance of 11,000. While in New Orleans, ACS members pumped millions of dollars into the New Orleans economy and volunteered their time with the New Orleans area Habitat for Humanity
The Risk and Insurance Management Society met in New Orleans April 29-May 3, 2007, for its 45th Annual Conference & Exhibition, with more than 9,000 attendees. Highlights of the conference included a community service day where hundreds of RIMS volunteers spent an afternoon cleaning City Park.
The American College of Cardiology met in New Orleans March 24-27, 2007 for its 56th Annual Scientific Session and i2Summit. With 26,250 attendees, the meeting was New Orleans’ largest since 2005. The conference received rave reviews from ACC leadership and members alike.
January 20-23, 2007, Meeting Professionals International brought 2,600 of the world's most influential meeting professionals to New Orleans for the second largest MPI Professional Education Conference-North America ever. It was a prime opportunity to showcase the city as a destination for future meetings being planned by MPI members. For testimonials, visit www.neworleansmeeting.com.
Corporate America is discovering New Orleans as a meeting destination, bringing new, shorter-term meetings business to the city. Many corporations are drawn to New Orleans for the wealth of “voluntourism” opportunities available during meetings to expand strategic philanthropic and branding efforts. Corporate meetings held in the city in 2007 included Whirlpool Corporation, Coca-Cola, Konica Minolta, Sherwin Williams and IBM.
Successful meetings (3,000 or more in attendance) in 2007 included:
Healthcare Information & Management Society /Feb. 24 – Mar. 1 (city-wide)/24,789
American Association of School Administrators/Feb. 28 – Mar. 4/7,000
National Collegiate Athletic Association/Mar. 14 – 17 (city-wide)/20,000
American College of Healthcare Executives/Mar. 18 – 22/4,000
International Association for Dental Research/Mar. 20 – 25/4,632
American College of Cardiology/Mar. 23 – 27 (city-wide)/26,250
Institute of Scrap Recycling/Apr. 17 – 22/3,300
Risk & Insurance Management Society/Apr. 29 – May 4 (city-wide)/15,000
American College of Sports Medicine/May 29-June 2/4,200
Essence Festivals, LLC/July 5-7 (city-wide)/200,000
Southern Regional Education Board (city-wide)/July 10-13/8,000
Louisiana Restaurant Association/Aug. 3-5 (city-wide)/16,000
Disabled American Veterans/Aug. 8-14/4,000
Cardiovascular Institute of the South/Sept. 5-7/3,000
National Council of State Housing Agencies/Sept. 15-18/2,200
American College of Surgeons/Oct. 6-10 (city-wide)/11,000
International Association of Chiefs of Police/Oct. 12-17 (city-wide)/13,500
American Society for Clinical Pathology/Oct. 17-21/5,000
International Facility Management Association/Oct. 23-26 (city-wide)/10,000
Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International/Oct. 30-Nov. 2/2,700
American Society of Agronomy/Nov. 4-8/4,800
American Academy of Ophthalmology/Nov. 9-12/22,000
National League of Cities/Nov. 13-17 /8,000
Diversified Business Communications/Nov. 27-30/11,000
Southern Association of Colleges & Schools/Dec. 8-10/ 3,000
Pennwell Corporation/Dec. 10-14/17,000
2007 New Orleans CVB Milestones
The Board of Directors of the New Orleans CVB is pleased to announce that for the second year in a row that its President & CEO, Stephen Perry, has been honored by Meeting News Magazine (July 16, 2007 issue) as one of the “25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry.”
The New Orleans CVB has been chosen by Successful Meetings magazine as one of the country’s best CVBs. The prestigious 2007 Successful Meetings Pinnacle Award is a mark of excellence for meeting destinations and is awarded to those organizations that have done an outstanding job servicing their meetings, incentive travel programs, trade shows and conventions during the previous year. Other awards the New Orleans CVB has received are the 2007 Award of Excellence from Corporate & Incentive Travel magazine and the 2007 Gold Service Award given by Meetings & Conventions magazine.
2007 Sports Milestones
The State Farm Bayou Classic, the annual match-up between Southern and Grambling universities, returned to New Orleans Nov. 24, 2007, bringing 53,297 game spectators, approximately 200,000 total visitors and $200 million in economic impact.
The first and second rounds of the 69th Annual NCAA Division I Mens Basketball Championship Tournament was played at the New Orleans Arena March 15-17.
2007 Milestones in Marketing New Orleans
In January 2007, the New Orleans CVB launched an aggressive, strategic marketing, public relations and direct sales campaign, “Forever New Orleans,” designed to celebrate its authentic culture, lure domestic and international visitors back, preserve the city’s leading industry (hospitality) and overcome misperceptions about New Orleans among consumers.
The campaign was honored by Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) during the 2007 Adrian Awards’ 51st Anniversary Gala January 28, 2008, in New York City.
The “Forever New Orleans” print advertising campaign, with agency partner Trumpet, was awarded a Silver certificate in the advertising division within CVBs/Destinations/Offices of Tourism in the positioning category. The New Orleans CVB’s itinerary-building Web Site, www.24nola.com, with agency partner Trumpet, won a Gold Award in the web marketing division within CVBs/Destinations/Offices of Tourism in the Web Site category. Its Platinum status made www.24nola.com eligible for the Gala’s most prestigious award, “Best in Show,” which it won.
The New Orleans CVB’s 2007 public relations program and 10-city road show with agency partner Weber Shandwick also received a Gold and a Bronze HSMAI Adrian Awards.
“Forever New Orleans TV,” a 30-minute travel television show hosted by Karen Carlson, showcases the eclectic nature and vibrant culture of the city and aired during the fall of 2007 in 51 countries in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, reaching 119 million homes. It also aired during the Travel Channel’s paid programming block in April 2008.
2007 New Orleans Hospitality and Tourism Milestones
According to the Louisiana Office of Entertainment Industry Development, more than $2 billion in productions have chosen to film in Louisiana since 2002; Louisiana is the No. 3 location to shoot films, outside California and New York; and the film industry’s total direct impact to Louisiana’s economy is $1.48 billion.
The St. Charles Streetcar line, with transport to S. Carrollton Avenue, reopened December 23, 2007. The entire line is expected to reopen in spring 2008.
With a January 2007 contract between the City of New Orleans and SDT LLC Waste and Debris Services, the French Quarter and Central Business District have never been cleaner. SDT LLC and its president, Sidney Torres IV, provide waste removal and street cleaning using brand new, state-of-the-art equipment.
New Orleans has received multiple honors. In October 2007, the American Planning Association named New Orleans’ oak-lined St. Charles Avenue in the inaugural class of its 10 Great Streets in America.
New Orleans was also honored on NBC’s The Today Show as the Second Most Beautiful Place in America. The Today Show’s “America the Beautiful” series September 6, 2007, featured New Orleans and the Gulf Coast as number two on its list of ten.
The Los Angeles Times (Feb. 4, 2007) named New Orleans one of the worlds “don’t miss destinations.” In December 2006, Orbitz described New Orleans as an “in” location for experience-seeking vacationers. Travel + Leisure Magazine’s January 2007 issue included New Orleans in its “Where to Go Next” feature and Travelocity recently named New Orleans one of 2007’s top 10 favorite gourmet destinations in the world.
Hospitality and Tourism
Hotels: New hotel developments abound in New Orleans, including the grand opening of the Hilton St. Charles Hotel in June 2007. The Hyatt is scheduled to reopen in 2009. Overall 209 metropolitan area accommodations are open, with 33,500 of 38,000 hotel rooms available. The vast majority of hotel properties have completed renovations and upgrades since 2005.
The newly-constructed Harrah’s Hotel opened in September 2006, and the Ritz-Carlton and Chateau Sonesta reopened in December 2006 after extensive renovations. The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans’ Iberville Suites reopened in early March, after an extensive renovation. The Iberville Suites added 230 rooms to New Orleans’ hotel inventory.
Construction of Louisiana’s first condo hotel, the 131-room Royal Cosmopolitan, is set to begin in early 2008. When construction begins, it will be the first new hotel project to break ground in the city since 2005.
Fifty million dollars will be spent to renovate the 100-year-old Astor Hotel building at 121-25 Royal St. The Royal Cosmopolitan will operate as a “condotel,” in which rooms are available for sale as condominiums and buyers have to option to share in the revenue from guests who stay there when the owner does not.
The Wyndham Canal Place is now operating as a Westin and is undergoing a $22 million ongoing renovation.
According to Greater New Orleans, Inc., in the past two years, over $400 million has been spent on hotel renovations in the metro New Orleans area. Major hotel brands such as Hilton, Marriott and Starwood are making investments in New Orleans with renovations and upgrades to local properties.
The Hilton New Orleans Riverside has received over $66 million for a series of ongoing improvements designed to complement the city’s renaissance and revitalize the 30-year-old Southeastern flagship of Hilton Hotels Corporation. The renovations will continue through the end of 2008. The Marriott New Orleans Hotel is undergoing a $38 million renovation. A portion was completed in October, with the unveiling of the hotel’s $6.5 million, brand-new lobby and restaurant. Other hotels that are being refurbished include the Baronne Plaza and the Prince Conti Hotel.
The Fairmont New Orleans, an iconic downtown hotel, was sold to Dimension Development Company, Inc. of Natchitoches, La., who purchased the 114-year old hotel for $17 million, and plans to spend $100 million in refurbishments to the 500-room property.
Dining: There are more restaurants open in New Orleans today than ever before. There are 920 restaurants open in the metropolitan New Orleans area, including restaurants in the French Quarter, Downtown, Warehouse Arts District, Garden District and Uptown New Orleans popular with visitors to the city. As well, 18 major new restaurants opened in the metro area and are enjoying success.
Airport: Airlines operating out of the Armstrong International Airport include: Air Tran, American Airlines, Continental, Delta Air Lines, ExpressJet, Jet Blue, Northwest, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and U.S. Airways.
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport reports that as of May 2008 there are 138 flights serving 38 cities (86 percent the number of daily departures and 90 percent the number of destinations; 16,447 seats or 80 percent of our Pre-Katrina level of seats per day). The New Orleans CVB is working with the airlines and airport officials with regard to convention scheduling to ensure adequate lift to meet demand. Also, the airport is now providing free WiFi to the traveling public on the 2nd level of the terminal building.
In May of 2008, Jet Blue Airways introduced a nonstop daily flight to Boston while Southwest added an additional daily nonstop flight to Fort Lauderdale.
Cruise Industry: The Norwegian Cruise Lines, Carnival Cruise Lines, RiverBarge Excursion Lines and Majestic America (American Queen) are sailing from New Orleans. Carnival Corp. announced in September that it would keep the 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy in New Orleans through 2010.
Consistently recognized as one of the top five convention and visitor bureaus in the United States, The New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau is the driving force behind New Orleans' most important industry, tourism. Today the cultural riches, sensual indulgences and unparalleled service that define the New Orleans experience continue to flourish, as they have for centuries. The most celebrated and historic core of the city - including the French Quarter, Central Business District, Warehouse and Arts District, Magazine Street, the Faubourg Marigny and Garden District - are thriving. In 2007 New Orleans welcomed 7.1 million visitors, nearly double the amount of visitors in 2006. For more information, visit www.neworleanscvb.com.