April 11 marks Global Meetings Industry Day. Meetings, Conferences, Convention and Business events provide undeniable value to people, businesses and communities, especially in our city of New Orleans. In a world where emerging technologies make it easier than ever to connect with people around the globe, bringing people together may matter even more than it ever has. And bringing people together is one of things we do best in New Orleans. Meetings create the opportunity for deeper connectivity, for the launch of new technologies, the revelation of new science and innovation. Meetings serve as catalysts for disbursing new ideas, innovations, inventions, and discoveries and are an essential component of commerce and critical to the economy of our nation and the world. When meeting attendees come together, differences can be overcome, common purpose can be found, and problems can be solved. 

Millions of people choose to come to New Orleans every year, with 70 percent of those visitors coming for leisure activities like Mardi Gras, major sporting events, festivals or weddings. While only 30 percent of visitors come to attend a meeting, trade show or exhibition.  But those meeting attendees have a disproportionate economic impact because of the local businesses needed to execute their meeting, including audio-visual companies, transportation, catering, booth design and construction, event planners and printing services among many others.

Yet competition from other cities is intense. That’s why in 2021, New Orleans & Company launched a new brand for the meetings industry, Built to Host, to stand out from the competition and illustrate why New Orleans is better equipped to host major events, conferences, and meetings. The walkability of the city, world-class hotels and venues, a welcoming culture, and more are competitive advantages for our destination. 

Event organizers seek destinations who continually innovate, add to their hospitality assets, and demonstrate the ability to execute with technical excellence. We also celebrate our vibrant higher education community, world class healthcare providers and educational institutions, international trade and commerce, and other commercial activity happening in New Orleans and Louisiana to set us apart from our competitors. 

The New Orleans & Company’s Convention Sales team leads the selling efforts on behalf of our hospitality community. Approximately half of the thousands of meetings that take place each year convene in a single hotel and the other half utilize the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, while their attendees stay at multiple hotels.  We work closely with our partners on the sales teams at the Convention Center and at our hotels to drive economic activity to our city and region.  

Meetings are critical to the success of the travel industry in New Orleans. Each year conventions, conferences, meetings and exhibitions create compression upon which other market segments build. The meetings industry also has positive impacts on the broader hospitality community because each meeting is an economic development project in and of itself.  Each event is like building a business from the ground up that will last for several days. These events are the epitome of economic development and make New Orleans a great place to live, work and visit.


Walter J. Leger III
President and CEO
New Orleans & Company