NEW ORLEANS CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU
HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY REPORT, THIRD QUARTER 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau
Mary Beth Romig or Jennifer Lotz
NEW ORLEANS WELCOMES MAJOR NEW TOURIST ATTRACTIONS THIS FALL
Following a summer of cultural celebrations and consecutive city-wide conventions, the city’s hospitality industry anticipates key museum events, new attractions, the sold-out Saints football season and Broadway Across America
NEW ORLEANS – Sept. 24, 2009 –As New Orleans prepares for the $300 million World War II Museum expansion opening, Broadway and other cultural celebrations, Disney© brings Dreams Come True: Art of the Classic Fairy Tales from the Walt Disney Studio to the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) in time for the highly-anticipated Walt Disney Animation Studio’s musical comedy, The Princess and the Frog, set in New Orleans.
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 National World War II Museum will open 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.
Broadway is Back in New Orleans! The Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts is proud to add Broadway Theater to its list of spectacular performances. “Broadway Across America—New Orleans” will kick off with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS and will continue with Wicked, The Color Purple and Mamma Mia! The first performance of CATS is scheduled for October 27, 2009, and the series will wrap up June 13, 2010, with Avenue Q.
Approximately $10.5 million dollars will be spent to upgrade the former Dominion Tower into a sports entertainment venue now known as the Benson Tower, named for Saint’s owner Tom Benson and his family. At the adjacent Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints, a fourth consecutive sold-out season was reported this year, including suites. The Saints kicked-off the 2009-2010 regular season on September 13 when they defeated the Detroit Lions.
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 will open October 23, 2009.
Approximately $4 million will be spent in the next year to renovate and upgrade the Canal Place Theater. Changes include a fifth screening room and an all-digital movie experience. The theater has also changed ownership hands and will be run by New Orleans-based Southern Theatres group.
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.
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, hosting a health fair, holding five book fairs with the Jefferson Parish School District and donating school supplies to children throughout the area.
According to the Louis Armstrong International Airport, on October 6, 2009, AirTran will begin nonstop flights from Baltimore/Washington Airport to New Orleans.
COOLinary New Orleans, a two month tribute to the culinary culture of New Orleans, kicked-off August 1, 2009. Restaurant patrons are offered delectable three-course lunches for $20 and dinners for $34 through September 30.
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 100,00 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 bring 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. New Orleans also anticipates the 11th annual Voodoo Music Experience Halloween weekend followed by Christmas New Orleans Style beginning in December. This month-long event is a tribute to classic holiday happenings including special Papa Noel hotel rates and classic French Reveillon dinners.
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.
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.
The Microsoft Worldwide Partners Conference brought thousands of Microsoft partners, industry experts and exhibitors to New Orleans July 13-16. The conference covered groundbreaking products, strategies and technologies from Microsoft.
New Orleans recently signed 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.
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.
Adding a cyber-twist to the annual “Be A Tourist In Your Own Hometown” promotion, The New Orleans CVB launched a virtual postcard campaign. Through the campaign, locals were asked to be New Orleans ambassadors by inviting family and friends to visit the Crescent City.
New windows are just one of the latest features of the more than $200 million facelift for the Louisiana Superdome. The new upgrades will be accomplished between the 2009 and 2010 season and the following summer. They include new sideline seating, expanded plaza concourse, new club suites and more 300 level suites. Additional upgrades will be made to two restaurants located on the Plaza Level and to the team store. The Superdome’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.
The Louis Armstrong International Airport is undergoing a $350 million renovation. The airport terminal interior improvements include upgrading signs and lighting on Loop Road, which is substantially complete. Also, improvements will be made to the first and second level facades along the curbside beginning in late 2009. Terminal interior improvements include upgrades to the flight information display system, restroom renovations and renovations to the terminal area.
In addition to facility renovations, visitor areas such as Bourbon and Magazine Streets are also being upgraded. In July, the City of New Orleans began a nearly $500,000 project to repair Bourbon Street sidewalks while another $4 million in street resurfacing began on the renowned shopping district of Magazine Street.
Leah Chase has been honored as the Louisiana Restaurant Association’s Restaurateur of the Year. Also in July, the Southern Food and Beverage Museum honored Chef Chase when it dedicated and re-named the gallery the Leah Chase Louisiana Gallery.
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.
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.
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.
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 allows 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.
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. City officials estimated that 750-850,000 people 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.
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.
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.”
Super Bowl 2013 is the latest addition to New Orleans’ list of upcoming major sporting events, solidifying the city’s reputation as a world-class destination for hospitality, tourism, meetings, conventions and special events.
R+L Carriers has extended its contract with New Orleans through the 2011 football season. In 2008, the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl hosted approximately 30,197 fans.
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.
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.
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 competed 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 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.
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.
Flightline First, a full-service fixed base operator at Lakefront Airport, opened its new facility on May 28, 2009. The $1.5 million renovation of the art deco-style structure is in keeping with the art deco terminal building also being restored to its former 1934 glory. Flightline First offers fuel, charter services, helicopter services, rental and crew cars, conference facilities, pilot facilities, hangars and more to the general aviation community.
Armstrong International announced this year that the airport served 7.94 million passengers in 2008, a 5.5 percent increase over 2007.
According to the Port of New Orleans, Norwegian Cruise Lines has committed one ship to New Orleans through October 31, 2014.
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.
The Hotel Monteleone’s world-renowned Carousel Bar celebrated its 60th anniversary on May 21, 2009. In 2008 the Carousel Bar was voted “Best of the City” by National Geographic Traveler.
The 166-room La Quinta Inn & Suites, located at 301 Camp Street, reopened in February 2009 after a complete renovation of the hotel’s interior and exterior.
According to Tom Fitzmorris and www.nomenu.com, there are more than 1,000 restaurants in the New Orleans metropolitan area, a milestone for the restaurant community.
Ella Brennan of Commander’s Palace Restaurant was honored by the James Beard Foundation with a Lifetime Achievement Award. According to the foundation, “The Lifetime Achievement award is given to an individual whose lifetime body of work has had a positive and long-lasting impact on the way we eat, cook, and/or think about food in America.”
Museums and Attractions
The Audubon Nature Institute has several reasons to celebrate. Not only did the Audubon Aquarium welcome a new penguin chick named Endymion in February 2009, but the Audubon Insectarium celebrated its first anniversary in June 2009. Audubon Insectarium is the largest free-standing North American museum dedicated to insects and their relatives. The Insectarium hosts nearly 900,000 insects.
Chosen from more than 120 nominees, Audubon Insectarium received an award for Outstanding Achievement at the 15th annual Thea Awards Gala on March 7, 2009. Audubon was one of 16 world-class recipients honored by the Themed Entertainment Association, along with Walt Disney World’s EPCOT, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Busch Gardens and the 2008 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremonies, among others.
Mid-City Lanes Rock n’ Bowl has moved to a new location. The classic New Orleans venue combines musical acts with bowling and was established in 1941. The new Rock n’ Bowl can hold special events with over 1,000 guests, has an expanded dance floor, two party rooms, 18 lanes and still displays unique murals on the venue’s walls.
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 hosted six consecutive city-wide conventions in June and July including the American Diabetes Association, SP Richards, the CLEAN Show, Society for Human Resource Management, ESSENCE Music Festival and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
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 78,000 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.
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: 78,000+
· Hotels: 210 and 34,700 hotel rooms
· Restaurants: 1,032
· Airport: As of September 2009- 114 flights serving 34 cities
· 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 (new location)
o Lakewood Golf Course
o The Roosevelt Hotel
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 www.neworleanscvb.com.