New Orleans Celebrates National Tourism Week

Mayor Ray Nagin and Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu on hand to honor New Orleans’ tourism industry that drives the city’s brand and 35 percent of its operating budget.

New Orleans-May 19, 2006- In observance of National Tourism Week, over 700 industry leaders were present for the New Orleans Tourism Business Expo & Luncheon yesterday afternoon, May 18, 2006.

Held at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau (NOMCVB) was proud to host an event that spotlighted one of the city's most important industries--tourism, which collectively generates 35 percent of New Orleans' operating budget and is the city's largest employer, providing livelihoods for over 85,000 people.

During the luncheon, NOMCVB President & CEO Stephen Perry honored seven Champions of the Crescent City--civic leaders whose efforts aid New Orleans' hospitality efforts. Those saluted were Linda Friedlander, chairperson of Second Wind; Marianne Lewis, co-chairperson of Second Wind; Mike McCrossen, acting president of the Orleans Parish Levee District; Anne Milling, founder of Women of the Storm; Dr. Kevin Stephens, director of the New Orleans Health Department; Doug Thornton, regional vice president of SMG and Becky Zaheri, founder of the Katrina Krewe.

Two special awards were given to two well-deserving members of the community. Quint Davis, the force behind the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, was given the Hat's Off Award and Hans Wandfluh, the former general manager of the Royal Sonesta Hotel, was honored with the Lester E. Kabacoff Hospitality & Community Achievement Award.

In a video,Terry Epton, chairman of the NOMCVB, talked about the importance of our industry, how proud he is to be a member of the hospitality industry and why we must rally together to keep our city clean and maintain the New Orleans brand. Also on hand to honor the tourism industry were the New Orleans mayoral candidates--Mayor Ray Nagin and Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu. They both spoke eloquently about the importance of New Orleans' cultural status and how it adds to the city's economic stability.

Additionally, $500 was raised for the Friends of the New Orleans Fire Department from a silent auction of the tables' beautiful centerpieces, provided by Signature Events and the Plant Gallery.