New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau
Hospitality Industry Report, Fourth Quarter 2009

Media Contacts:
New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau
Mary Beth Romig or Jennifer Lotz

New Orleans’ tourism industry looks back on successes of 2009 and anticipates
major sporting events in the future

NEW ORLEANS – Dec. 9, 2009 – In 2009, major sports organizations committed to New Orleans, filling the calendar with Super Bowl XLVII, the 2012 NCAA Men’s Final Four, the 2013 NCAA Women’s Final Four, a BCS National Championship and contract extensions with major football bowl games. With all eyes on the New Orleans Saints and their unprecedented 12-0 season, the Crescent City continues to shine in the national spotlight as it prepares to welcome fans for the R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, December 20, and the Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, January 1.

“The buzz and vitality surrounding the New Orleans Saints are great for the city’s brand and generate advertising which we could never afford,” said J. Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Thanks to the positive national exposure from the Saints, the upcoming bowl games and a series of major conventions, the fourth quarter 2009 has been strong for New Orleans’ hospitality industry.”

Sports News in 2009
New Orleans was awarded the NCAA 2012 Men’s Final Four and the NCAA 2013 Women’s Final Four. The Final Four is the national championship of college basketball.

In May, New Orleans landed Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, solidifying the city’s reputation as a world-class destination for hospitality, tourism, meetings, conventions and special events.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl and Bowl Championship Series (BCS) have committed to New Orleans through the 2014 bowl season. The agreement between the Allstate Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, BCS and ESPN extends the contract an additional four years. The BCS championship, which alternates cities yearly, will call New Orleans home in 2012 with the city hosting both the Allstate Sugar Bowl and the BCS game in the same season that year. Celebrating its 76th anniversary, this year’s Sugar Bowl game on January 1, 2010, features the University of Florida Gators from the Southeastern Conference and the University of Cincinnati Bearcats from the Big East Conference.

R+L Carriers has extended its contract with New Orleans through the 2011 football season and their participant conferences through 2013. The 2009 R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl game will be held December 20 when the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders and the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles battle it out on the field. In 2008, the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl hosted approximately 30,197 fans.

The New Orleans Saints have advanced to a 12-0 record, clenching the National Football Conference South title and ensuring a spot in the NFC playoffs.

Approximately $10.5 million will be spent to upgrade the atrium of the former Dominion Tower and New Orleans Centre into a sports entertainment venue now known as the Benson Tower, named for Saint’s owner Tom Benson and his family. Adjacent at the Louisiana Superdome, renovations are also taking place. The Superdome’s improvements will include new sideline seating, an expanded plaza concourse, new premium club lounges, additional 300 level suites and an outdoor festival plaza.

The New Orleans Arena is celebrating 10 years of entertainment. The building, which opened on October 29, 1999, is adjacent to the Louisiana Superdome and has served as the home of the New Orleans Hornets since 2002. The Hornets are also in the midst of their 2009-2010 basketball season.

The Competitor Group and the New Orleans Track Club announced in June a multi-year licensing agreement for the Mardi Gras Marathon. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Series will add the Mardi Gras Marathon to its schedule of races, hosting the Rock ‘n’ Roll Mardi Gras Marathon & ½ Marathon in New Orleans on Sunday, February 28, 2010.

In February, Lakewood Golf Course wrapped up a $9 million redesign and reopened for public play. Two months later, the Tournament Players Club (TPC) of Louisiana hosted the 51st consecutive pro golf tournament, the PGA Zurich Classic, April 20-26, 2009. This year’s tournament winner was Jerry Kelly after he shot one-under 71 in the final round.

Also in April 2009, New Orleans hosted traditional races such as the Crescent City Classic, where 20,000 runners participated in the 10K race, and the Tour De Lis bike race, where riders competed to raise awareness and funding for cancer survival and research. New Orleans also hosted 2,500 athletes for the first Ochsner Ironman 70.3.

Other 2009 Milestones
Mardi Gras 2009 kicked off on January 6 and ended with Fat Tuesday on February 24. This year’s Mardi Gras reached pre-Katrina crowd levels of approximately 1 million attendees, while City officials estimate that 750-850,000 people enjoyed Mardi Gras in 2008. Fat Tuesday 2010 is February 16.

The Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Program is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2009. Louisiana was the first state to initiate a program of this type, offering international visitors tax-free shopping while traveling within the state.

According to Tom Fitzmorris and, there are more than 1,000 restaurants in the New Orleans metropolitan area, a milestone for the restaurant community.

Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta opened to the public March 21, 2009. The award-winning trumpeter will headline performances and host star-studded performances seven days a week. Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra’s BOOK ONE has been nominated for the 2010 Grammy Award for the “Best Large Jazz Ensemble.”

The legendary Roosevelt Hotel welcomed its first guests in nearly a half century in July 2009 after completing a $145 million historic restoration. The 504-room hotel, of which 135 are suites, features nearly 60,000 square feet of event and meeting space, including three spectacular ballrooms and 23 distinctive meeting and event rooms that span two floors. The hotel also boasts Chef John Besh's new restaurant, Domenica and the 12,000-square-foot Guerlain Spa.

Aeromexico, the official airline of Latin America, began six weekly nonstop flights between New Orleans and Mexico City on July 7, 2009. Aeromexico is New Orleans’ first international flight service since 2005.

Broadway is Back in New Orleans! The Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts is proud to add “Broadway Across America—New Orleans” to its list of spectacular performances. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS ran October 27-November 1 and The Color Purple premiered December 1. The series continues with Wicked, Mamma Mia! and Avenue Q, which will wrap up June 13, 2010.

The National World War II Museum opened three major new attractions on November 6, 2009: the 250-seat "Victory Theater," premiering the 4-D cinematic experience Beyond All Boundaries, the "Stage Door Canteen,"featuring a signature live show and other entertainment, and The American Sector, a Chef John Besh restaurant. This new complex is the latest phase of The National World War II Museum’s $300 million expansion which will quadruple the size of the existing facility and will be completed in phases by 2015.

The New Orleans Museum of Art is proud to be the only North American venue for Dreams Come True: Art of the Classic Fairy Tales from Walt Disney Studio. This major exhibition features more than 600 rarely seen original artworks that brought legendary fairy tales to the screen, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. The exhibit coincides with the highly-anticipated animated film The Princess and the Frog, which opens in theaters nationwide on December 11. The Princess and the Frog will feature Disney’s first African American princess, Tiana, who lives in New Orleans during the Jazz Age. Other characters include Louis, a trumpet-playing alligator, and Ray, a love-sick Cajun firefly. The film marks the first time an animated Disney film is set in an actual place, New Orleans.

Norwegian Cruise Lines has committed one ship to New Orleans through October 31, 2014.

New Orleans hosted spectacular events and thousands of visitors for a busy Halloween weekend including the 11th Annunal Voodoo Music Experience, the second annual Krewe of Boo, Vampire Film Festival and American Blood Banks Association.

The Louis Armstrong International Airport has announced plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on modernization and improvement projects.

2009 Convention Milestones
Millions of dollars were pumped into New Orleans’ economy in 2009 when the city hosted prominent international gatherings such as the Microsoft Worldwide Partners Conference, the National Automobile Dealers Association Annual Convention and Expo, Society of Human Resource Management Annual Conference, World Educational Congress for Laundering and Dry Cleaning, Specialty Graphics Imaging Association Expo, American Society of Anesthesiologists Annual Meeting and the International Workboat Show.

Highlights include:
The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) brought more than 3,000 meeting industry leaders to New Orleans January 11-14, 2009, for a very successful annual meeting. Sometimes called the “Super Bowl” of conventions, PCMA professionals make over $40 billion of meeting commitments annually. New Orleans is poised to gain millions of dollars in future meetings and convention business because of the success of PCMA.

More than 37,000 visitors packed the city for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America convention July 22-26, the largest convention New Orleans has seen in 20 years. This astronomical number of attendees reflects their enthusiasm to volunteer their time and serve the city. They worked on 154 projects including several construction and landscaping projects, hosted a health fair, held five book fairs with the Jefferson Parish School District and donated school supplies to children throughout the area.

For the first time in a decade, the American Society of Hematology (ASH) returned to New Orleans for its 51st annual meeting December 5-8, 2009, at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center. ASH, which last met in New Orleans in 1999, estimated nearly 20,000 attendees from 100 countries and generated approximately $24 million in economic impact. Following Hurricane Katrina, ASH donated $410,000 to New Orleans after their meeting, scheduled in New Orleans for December 2005, was relocated to another city. ASH will return to New Orleans for their 55th annual meeting in 2013.

In an effort to help corporations and associations reduce costs and achieve more successful meetings during this unusual economic climate, The New Orleans CVB and the New Orleans Morial Convention Center have extended “Extraordinary Experiences,” the quickest turnaround, most meeting planner-friendly program in the country, offering complimentary space, F&B, marketing resources and more for meetings held during specific months from now until 2013.

New Orleans recently signed citywide conventions for Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) in 2013 and American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) in 2013 and 2017, confirming the city’s status as a premier meeting destination. In 2007, the HIMSS brought the first city-wide meeting of the year to New Orleans with an estimated 24,600 attendees, including 860 exhibitors while the AAO last visited New Orleans November 10-13, 2007, and estimated an attendance of more than 22,000.

Approximately 1,000 New Orleans hospitality industry workers marched in a Mardi Gras-like parade down Canal Street for the Power of Tourism in New Orleans Day 2009. Supporting U.S. Travel Association’s nationwide, multi-city National Travel and Tourism Week rally, elected officials and members of the hospitality community paraded with Mardi Gras Indians and musicians to combat the mischaracterizations of travel in the media and to promote tourism—the economic engine of New Orleans that generates $5 billion annually and employs 70,000 people.

The New Orleans CVB is pleased to announce that several convention sales managers including MaryBeth Guarisco, Jeffrey Anding, Raquel (Rocky) P. Dufauchard, Susan Ives and Carl Lauto received a Certified Meeting Professional designation, while Fay Nedd received a Certified Government Meeting Professional certification.

The New Orleans Morial Convention Center has built a 26-acre festival ground adjacent to the facility. Events such as the Louisiana Tailgate and BBQ Festival as well as Project 30-90 have utilized the new festival grounds.

2009 Festival News
March 7 and 8, 2009, the Audubon Zoo welcomed more than 21,300 visitors for Soul Fest 2009, drawing more guests to the Zoo than any festival weekend since Hurricane Katrina.

March 25-29, 2009, New Orleans hosted some of the country’s finest writing and publishing figures for the 23rd annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival. The five-day festival offered master classes, panel discussions, theater and music events and literary walking tours.

The 73rd Annual Spring Fiesta took place in the Uptown, Garden District and French Quarter areas of New Orleans March 27-April 5, 2009. The festival celebrated the history and culture of New Orleans and offers tours of historic New Orleans homes not usually open to the public.

The Louisiana Roadfood Festival made its début this year in the historic French Quarter April 4-5, 2009. This free festival celebrated the food of Louisiana and featured brass bands, panel discussions and 16 of the state’s best restaurants.

Approximately 441,000 people attended the 26th Annual French Quarter Festival on April 17-19. The largest “free” festival in the South included 250 hours of entertainment featuring more than 150 musical performances on 17 stages throughout the French Quarter and the “world’s largest jazz brunch.” The 2008 festival saw attendance levels of 435,000.

April 24-26 and April 30-May 3, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Presented by Shell celebrated 40 years of “peace, love and crawfish.” The New Orleans Fair Grounds hosted over 400,000 attendees for the seven-day cultural event and saw the highest single-day attendance since 2005 with over 90,000 festival-goers Saturday, May 2.

10,000 motorcycles rolled through the streets May 7-10 for Bike Week New Orleans at the Broken Spoke. The inaugural event included bike shows, organized rides, special cuisine and food events and entertainment in the city’s Warehouse District.

New Orleans Wine and Food Experience (NOWFE), one of the most prestigious festivals of its kind, celebrated 18 years of wine and food May 19-23. This year’s NOWFE event brought together world-renowned winemakers, celebrity chefs and industry insiders for another successful festival.

May 22-24, Greek Festival New Orleans is in its 36th year on the banks of Bayou St. John. The three-day event celebrated Greek heritage and cuisine.

June 13-15, A New Orleans Vieux-To-Do allowed festival-goers the experience of three different festivals all happening close to each other on the same weekend, including the Louisiana Seafood Festival, the Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival (both at the Old U.S. Mint) and the Great Creole Tomato Festival.

According to ESSENCE Music Festival organizers, this year’s “party with a purpose” welcomed 428,000 people for three days of music and empowerment seminars July 3-5, 2009. Some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry graced the stages of the Louisiana Superdome including Beyoncé, Maxwell, Anita Baker and Lionel Richie for the 15th annual festival.

September 2-7, nearly 100,000 visitors from around the world visited the Big Easy to partake in the Southern Decadence Festival, affectionately referred to as “Gay Mardi Gras,” celebrating gay life, music and culture.

New Orleans welcomed the first annual Project 30-90 festival on September 5, 2009, an environmentally-conscious music festival that allowed locals and visitors to enjoy great music while helping the environment. The concert stages were solar and wind turbine powered, and the concert used a green, paperless form of ticketing.

August and September brought an array of exciting, new and classic festivals to the city including The New Orleans Antique’s Forum August 6-9, The Louisiana Tailgate and BBQ Festival August 21-23, the first annual Burlesque Festival September 11-13 and The New Orleans Seafood Festival September 25-27, 2009.

Continuing the festival news, Satchmo SummerFest 2009 estimated crowds of 26,000 for the three-day festival July 30-August 2. The festival coincides with the birthday of musical legend Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong and celebrates his life and impact on the New Orleans jazz music scene. According to festival organizers, Tales of the Cocktail 2009 also experienced great success reporting attendance numbers of 15,000. The annual festival is a tribute to New Orleans’ historical link to the cocktail. This year’s festival used 12,000 pounds of Kold Draft Ice, 100,000 five-ounce cups, 13,884 mint leaves and 14,000 lemons.

Thousands of red-dress clad runners, and walkers, hit the streets of New Orleans for the 2009 New Orleans Red Dress Run, August 8, 2009. In keeping with unique New Orleans races, July 11, 2009, 1,000 people attended the third annual San Fermin in Nueva Orleans. The race replicates and pays homage to the world-famous “The Running of the Bulls” in Spain with members of the Big Easy Rollergirls! Supplementing for live bulls.

On Sunday, November 22, more than 25,000 New Orleanians celebrated the city’s most famous sandwich on the newly renovated Oak Street corridor for the 2009 New Orleans Po-boy Preservation Festival.

This December, New Orleans kicked-off a month long celebration for Christmas New Orleans Style. Enjoy caroling in Jackson Square, decorated hotel lobbies, classic French Reveillon dinners and special Papa Noel Hotel rates.

2009 Awards and Accolades
The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) has recognized the New Orleans CVB for excellence in marketing and communications.

With a strong focus on education, HSMAI has become the industry champion in identifying and communicating trends in the hospitality industry while operating as a leading voice for both hospitality and sales and marketing management disciplines, as well as connecting its members with customers. New Orleans CVB was honored with:

HSMAI Bronze Award for a packages and promotions program targeted to the national travel media.
HSMAI Silver Award for a March 2009 cover story/case study in PR Week Magazine about post-Katrina PR strategies.
HSMAI Bronze Award for 2008 Halloween media coverage as America’s Most Haunted City.

New Orleans was ranked number one in 10 categories in Travel + Leisure Magazine’s 2009 “America’s Favorite Cities” survey, more than any of the other 30 popular travel destinations in the survey. The Crescent City was also named best in the country for nightlife, receiving a number one ranking in all three nightlife subcategories: Cocktail Hour, Singles Bar Scene, and Live Music, Concerts, and Bands.

Tulane has been ranked number eight on a list of top 25 “best neighbor” colleges during the conference of Urban and Metropolitan Universities. Also topping the charts, the famous Faubourg Marigny neighborhood has been named to the American Planning Association’s top 10 Great American Neighborhood list.

New Orleans recently ranked number one in a poll conducted by the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) to find the “Top 10” North American cities for live music. SATW is the world’s largest organization of professional travel journalists and photographers.

The New Orleans CVB received another award for nationally recognized best practices, this time for our presence in the social media and on Twitter. According to a report released by New York-based Development Counsellors International, New Orleans CVB was named “Tweet Elite” for being one of the top five CVBs in the nation effectively marketing the city via Twitter.

Tourism Industry—Statistics at a Glance
· 2008 visitor numbers: 7.6 million
· 2008 visitor spending: $5.1 billion
· 2007 visitor numbers: 7.1 million
· 2007 visitor spending: $4.8 billion
· 2006 visitor numbers: 3.7 million
· 2006 visitor spending: $2.8 billion
· 2004 visitor numbers: a record-breaking 10.1 million
· Visitor numbers in an average pre-Katrina year: 8.5-9 million
· Taxes: $5 billion in visitor spending, $250-300 million in tax revenues and 35 percent of the city’s annual operating budget
· Employment: 70,000+
· Hotels: 210 and 34,700 hotel rooms
· Restaurants: 1,038
· Airport: As of November 2009- 123 flights serving 34 cities
· New attractions to open in recent years include:
o The Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SoFAB)
o Museum of the American Cocktail
o The Audubon Insectarium
o Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World (new location)
o Lakewood Golf Course
o Harrah’s Fulton Street

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. In 2008 New Orleans welcomed 7.6 million visitors, an increase over 2007 visitor levels of 7.1 million people. For more information, visit