NEW ORLEANS' HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY PERSEVERES DURING THE
NATIONAL ECONOMIC DOWNTURN
New Orleans welcomes the commitment of AeroMexico, Norwegian Cruise Line, Allstate Sugar Bowl, BCS and the re-opening of the Roosevelt Hotel, while festival season kicks into high gear with the 26th Annual French Quarter Fest, 40th anniversary Jazz & Heritage Festival and much more
NEW ORLEANS - April 15, 2009 - New Orleans' hospitality industry has many reasons to celebrate, including the beginning of a robust festival season; an announcement that AeroMexico will soon begin the city's first international air service since 2005; the commitment of Norwegian Cruise Line, the Allstate Sugar Bowl and BCS Championship to New Orleans through 2014; and the June 2009 re-opening of the legendary Roosevelt New Orleans as a Waldorf Astoria CollectionT property.
Visitors seeking an authentic getaway with great values during these tough economic times can take advantage of New Orleans' spring and summer festival lineup, such as:
· April 17-19, French Quarter Festival serves up a uniquely flavorful taste of New Orleans. The largest "free" festival in the South includes 250 hours of entertainment featuring more than 150 musical performances on 17 stages throughout the French Quarter over a three-day weekend, the "world's largest jazz brunch," and special activities for the entire family.
· April 24-26 and April 30-May 3, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Presented by Shell "Celebrates 40 years of peace, love and crawfish." This seven-day cultural event takes place at the New Orleans Fair Grounds and features a stellar musical line-up, a food fair offering classic New Orleans staples, Creole and Cajun offerings and international cuisine, and more than 300 regionally and nationally acclaimed artists in four distinct event venues.
· May 7-10 is Bike Week New Orleans at the Broken Spoke. The inaugural event will include bike shows, organized rides, special cuisine and food events, and entertainment in the city's Warehouse District.
· May 19-23, New Orleans Wine and Food Experience (NOWFE) is one of the most prestigious festivals of its kind. NOWFE celebrates 18 years of wine and food and brings together world-renowned winemakers, celebrated chefs and industry insiders for a showcase of signature events.
· May 22-24, Greek Festival New Orleans is in its 36th year on the banks of Bayou St. John. The three-day event celebrates Greek heritage and cuisine.
· June 13-15, A New Orleans Vieux To Do allows festival-goers the experience of three different festivals all happening close to each other on the same weekend, including the New Orleans Seafood Festival, the Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival (both at the Old U.S. Mint) and the Great Creole Tomato Festival.
· July 3-5, The ESSENCE Music Festival is in its 15th year! The biggest African-American festival of its kind showcases a stellar line-up of musical talent with concerts in the Louisiana Superdome, inspiring seminars, history, community and a marketplace. Maxwell, John Legend, Anita Baker, Ne-Yo, Salt 'N Pepa, Teena Marie, Robin Thicke, En Vogue and Al Green join Beyoncé at the 2009 festival.
· July 8-12, Tales of the Cocktail is often described as "the most spirited event of the summer." In its 7th year, the festival celebrates cocktails, cuisine and culture with more than 100 separate events and seminars.
· July 30-August 2, Satchmo Summerfest is an entertaining and educational weekend in the French Quarter honoring New Orleans' native son, Louis Armstrong. Celebrate with live musical performances, local cuisine and special seminars.
· September 2-7, known as "Gay Mardi Gras," Southern Decadence Festival celebrates gay life, music and culture and is always held during Labor Day weekend.
Hospitality industry businesses also are investing in New Orleans:
· AeroMexico, the official airline of Latin America, announced on April 7, 2009, that the airline will fly six weekly nonstop flights between New Orleans and Mexico City. Beginning July 6, 2009, AeroMexico is New Orleans' first international flight service since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. "Mexico visitors always have been a key to our success as an international destination," said Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. "We are grateful to AeroMexico for their commitment and new service, which will make New Orleans even more accessible for business and leisure visitors."
· According to the Port of New Orleans, Norwegian Cruise Lines has committed one ship to New Orleans through October 31, 2014.
· The Hilton Hotels Corporation is redeveloping the former Fairmont New Orleans into the Roosevelt. The legendary hotel is undergoing a $145-million historic restoration as the newest member of the Waldorf Astoria CollectionT. The Roosevelt will host a 12,500-square-foot spa, a restaurant with cuisine by New Orleans' own Chef John Besh and will restore the famous Blue Room and Sazerac Bar. The Roosevelt is scheduled to open June 25, 2009.
· 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. In 2014 New Orleans will host the Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, which celebrated its 75th anniversary on January 2, 2009, at the Louisiana Superdome when the University of Utah Utes defeated the University of Alabama Crimson Tide in front of 71,872 attendees.
Mardi Gras 2009 kicked off on January 6 and ended with Fat Tuesday on February 24. This year reached pre-Katrina crowd levels with approximately 1 million attendees. City officials estimated that 750-850,000 visitors enjoyed Mardi Gras in 2008.
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.
Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta opened to the public March 21, 2009. The award-winning trumpeter will headline and present star-studded musical performances.
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 celebrates the history and culture of New Orleans and offers tours of historic New Orleans homes not usually open to the public.
Lights Out NOLA, free outdoor film screenings, began showing at Audubon Riverview March 28, 2009.
The New Orleans City Park and Stephen Rehage, Voodoo Festival Producer, have agreed to hold the 2009 Voodoo Music Experience on Friday, October 30, Saturday, October 31 and Sunday, November 1. The festival will be held in the same location as last year, in and around Roosevelt Mall. An amendment to the Voodoo Festival's existing 10-year contract with City Park was signed during a meeting held at the New Orleans CVB's headquarter offices. The 2008 concert series estimated crowds of 100,000 attendees.
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. The Louisiana Road Food Festival coincided with the Annual Oyster Jubilee on Bourbon Street and linked the two festivals via the "World's Longest Po-boy."
The Hotel Monteleone's world-renowned Carousel Bar will celebrate its 60th anniversary this May. In 2008 the Carousel Bar was voted "Best of the City" by National Geographic Traveler.
The first phase of The National World War II Museum's The Road to Victory capital campaign will open in early November and will feature the Victory Theater, a 4-D cinematic experience, and The Stage Door Canteen, a dining and entertainment venue that captures the spirit of the Home Front. Additional phases will include a campaigns Pavilion, the Liberation Pavilion and additional themed gallery pavilions. The $300 million expansion will quadruple the size of the existing facility and will be completed in phases by 2015.
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.
New Orleans has been awarded the NCAA 2012 Men's Final Four and the 2013 Women's Final Four.
Lakewood Golf Course wrapped up a $9 million redesign and reopened for public play February 28, 2009.
New windows are just one of the latest features of the more than $200 million facelift for the Louisiana Superdome. The Dome's four completely redecorated Club Lounges will also soon be accessible via two private escalators from the outside concourse. The final phase of the upgrades will be a shiny new anodized aluminum outer surface.
April 5, 2009, New Orleans hosted 2,500 athletes for the city's first Ochsner Ironman 70.3. The following weekend, 20,000 runners geared-up to run the world-famous Crescent City Classic 10K run.
April 18, 2009, bikers will ride for a cause, to raise awareness and funding for cancer survival and research, with the Tour De Lis bike race.
The Tournament Players Club (TPC) of Louisiana will host the 51st consecutive pro golf tournament, the PGA Zurich Classic, April 20-26, 2009. Andrés Romero won the 2008 tournament after shooting a final round 68 and 13-under-par.
The New Orleans Aviation Board has selected Dulles Airport Taxi of Virginia, a national transportation company, to manage taxi cab and transportation services at the New Orleans Armstrong International Airport. Dulles Airport Taxi was selected to initiate ground transportation enhancements that will improve customer service monitor the quality of transportation vehicles, increase professionalism and provide higher standards for taxi and transportation operations at the Airport. Armstrong International also announced this year that the airport served 7.94 million passengers in 2008, a 5.5 percent increase over 2007.
The 166-room La Quinta Inn & Suites, located at 301 Camp Street, temporarily closed due to fire damage following Hurricane Gustav, but reopened in February 2009 after a complete renovation of the hotel's interior and exterior.
The New Orleans CVB is pleased to announce that several convention sales managers including 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.
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.
Meetings (3,000 or more in attendance) in 2009 include:
Professional Convention Management Association/Jan. 11-14
American Fence Association/Jan. 14-16
National Automobile Dealers Association/Jan. 24-27
American Society for Parenteral & Enteral Nutrition/Feb. 1-4
Golf Course Superintendents Association of America/Feb. 2-7
Helen Brett Enterprises/Feb. 14-17
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association/ Feb. 11-16
National Science Teachers Association/March 19-22
True Value Company/March 27-29
Association of Fundraising Professionals/March 29-April 1
National Afterschool Association/April 2-4
National Association of Elementary School Principals/April 2-6
Lifeway Christian Resources/April 3-4
New Orleans Dental Conference/April 2-4
American Mosquito Control Association/April 5-9
Direct Marketing Association/April 6-8
Federation of American Societies/Experimental Biology/April 18-22
Sourcemedia Conferences & Events/May 4-7
Helen Brett Enterprises/May 16-19
Association of Legal Administrators/May 18-21
American Diabetes Association/June 5-9
Southern Forest Products Association/June 9-10
World Educational Congress for Laundering & Dry Cleaning/June 18-21
Society for Human Resource Management/June 28-July 1
Louisiana Restaurant Association/July 18-20
Helen Brett Enterprises/Aug. 21-26
National Black MBA Association Inc./Sept. 23-24
Society of Petroleum Engineers/Oct.4-7
Specialty Graphic Imaging Association/Oct.7-9
American Society of Anesthesiologists/Oct. 17-21
National Community of Pharmacists Association/Oct. 17-21
Congress of Neurological Surgeons/Oct. 24-29
American Association of Blood Banks/Oct. 24-27
National Minority Supplier Development Council/Oct. 24-28
Helen Brett Enterprises/Oct. 30-Nov. 4
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Brownfields 2009 Conference/Nov. 15-17
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association/Nov. 19-21
Diversified Business Communications/Dec. 2-4
American Society of Hematology/Dec. 5-8
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: 209 and 33,000+ of 38,000 hotel rooms
· Restaurants: 993
· Airport: The latest airport numbers- 120 flights serving 33 cities (74 percent the number of daily departures and 79 percent the number of destinations; 15,053 seats or 73 percent of our Pre-Katrina level of seats per day)
· New attractions to open since 2005 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
o Lakewood Golf Course
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. For more information, visit www.neworleanscvb.com.