Media Contacts:
New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau
Kelly Schulz/ Mary Beth Romig/ Jennifer Lotz

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


New Orleans hit a “home run” with the 2009 Professional Convention Management Association’s (PCMA) meeting and continues rolling through 2009 with more major conventions, Mardi Gras celebrations
and an abundance of festivals

NEW ORLEANS – Feb. 3, 2009 – Despite the national economic downturn, leisure travelers have many reasons to choose New Orleans as a budget-friendly destination. Mardi Gras, the greatest free party on earth; the country's best food with meals such as po-boys as low as $7; and a dynamic lineup of free festivals all keep visitors coming back. For business travelers, New Orleans is home to some of the nation's most prominent meetings and conventions, hosting organizations such as the Professional Convention Management Association, the National Automobile Dealers Association and the Society for Human Resource Management.

Event Highlights
Mardi Gras 2009 kicked off on January 6 and ends with Fat Tuesday on February 24. For seven weeks, the city celebrates with ornate floats, masked balls and traditional king cakes. City officials estimated that 750-850,000 visitors enjoyed Mardi Gras in 2008.

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.

The Mahalia Jackson Theatre of the Performing Arts re-opened on January 8, 2009, after a $27 million renovation. The building includes a state-of-the-art sound system, a new orchestra shell and enhanced lighting and is the home to several musical and theatrical performances.

April 17-19, 2009, the annual French Quarter Festival celebrates the food, music and culture of New Orleans with over 150 musical performances on 18 stages throughout the French Quarter. Admission to French Quarter Fest is free and this event boasts the “World’s Largest Jazz Brunch,” a collection of fine New Orleans restaurants showcasing culinary creations all in one location. Last year’s festival estimated 435,000 attendees over the three-day weekend.

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation announced the lineup for the festival’s 40th anniversary April 24-26 and April 30-May 3. Jazz Fest 2009 includes performances by Wynton Marsalis, Dave Matthews Band, James Taylor, Earth Wind & Fire, Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, The Neville Brothers, Rebirth Brass Band Reunion with Kermit Ruffins and many more. The 2008 festival estimated 375,000 attendees.

Prospect.1 New Orleans, the largest biennial of contemporary art, displayed its work in New Orleans November 1, 2008-January 18, 2009. Prospect.1 featured the artists’ works in numerous locations including museums, community art centers, refurbished buildings and private homes totaling 100,000 square feet of exhibition space. Prospect.1 organizers estimate that 50,000 people attended exhibits during the two and a half month feature.

Thousands in the golf and club management industry are currently visiting New Orleans. Golf Course Superintendants Association of America, Club Managers Association and National Golf Course Owners will host the 2009 Golf Industry Show February 5-10.

January 24-27, 2009, the nation’s auto-industry leaders convened in New Orleans for the 2009 National Automobile Dealers Association’s (NADA) Convention & Exposition. During its board meeting in New Orleans on May 15, 2008, the NADA Charitable Foundation kept with their theme of “Commitment to Community” by donating $400,000 to the Brees Dream Foundation for the repair of the athletic field at Lusher High School.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic celebrated its 75th anniversary on January 2, 2009, at the Louisiana Superdome. This year, the University of Utah Utes defeated the University of Alabama Crimson Tide in front of 71,872 attendees. For the 2008 Allstate Sugar Bowl approximately 74,383 people attended the game, with thousands more visiting the city and an estimated economic impact of $164 million.

ESSENCE Music Festival 2009
has announced the lineup for the festivals 15th anniversary July 4th weekend. 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. ESSENCE Music Festival 2008 had a record-breaking year. According to ESSENCE organizers, the festival brought in more than 275,000 attendees over a three-day period for empowerment seminars and incredible musical performances July 4-6, 2008.

The 23rd annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival is March 25-29, 2009. The five-day festival features the top writing and publishing figures in America and offers master classes, panel discussions, theater and music events and literary walking tours.

The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE) celebrates 18 years of wine and food with a five-day extravaganza, May 19-23, 2009. The event brings together world-renowned winemakers, celebrated chefs and industry insiders for a showcase of signature events including seminars, wine dinners and the Royal Street Roll. This year, NOWFE is excited to announce the addition of its newest premier event, an inaugural celebrity chef gala called FeastiVAL, which will bring together some of America’s favorite celebrity chefs for a “feast” of signature dishes paired with select wineries. The 17th annual NOWFE event held May 21-25, 2008, generated $6.8 million in economic impact, a 20 percent increase over 2007.

Latest News
The New Orleans CVB has been named by its customers as one of the best Convention and Visitors Bureaus with a prestigious 2008 MeetingNews Planners’ Choice Award—the mark of excellence for meeting destinations.

In January 2009, placed New Orleans on its list for the site’s “15 Coolest North American Cities.”

Travel and Leisure magazine has placed three New Orleans hotels on its 2009 list of the “World’s Best Hotels.” The New Orleans hotels on the list: Ritz-Carlton, W French Quarter and Windsor Court.

Following a well-received response to a $60 million makeover in 2006, the New Orleans Morial Convention Center recently completed another round of upgrades. Over $7 million in improvements include: extensive landscaping, new digital large-screen audio/video information systems and furniture pods in the pre-function areas. More enhancements to the facility, totaling $12 million, are planned for 2009.

The Magazine ANTIQUES, a monthly glossy publication produced by Brant Publications, has chosen New Orleans for the January issue’s special profile “The Scene.” The 20-page feature showcases the local antiques scene and features editorial by Gregory Cerio with images by local photographer Eugenia Uhl. The text describes New Orleans as a “treasure house for the dedicated antique collector,” with a special emphasis on the French Quarter and the six-mile length of Magazine Street.

New Orleans has been selected as the “Best Domestic Business City” by Global Traveler Magazine and 31,457 of the publication’s surveyed travelers. Results for this prestigious annual survey were published in the magazine’s December 2008 issue. Global Traveler readers are frequent premium travelers who average 33 round-trip flights a year, with 96 percent traveling in first or business class regularly.

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.

The PARAPLEX, a multi-million dollar paranormal complex attraction opened in New Orleans, America’s most haunted city, Saturday, January 24, 2009. The high-tech paranormal complex includes paranormal art galleries, hands-on interactive psychic testing exhibits, a simulated séance room, a Ghost Experience Simulator and its own on-site theater for workshops, documentaries and feature film screenings.

New Orleans has been nominated as one of the top five domestic destinations for 2009 as part of the Annual Travel Awards. The winner of the award will be announced on May 7.

Southwest Airlines and its 130 employees in New Orleans celebrated the airline's 30th year of service at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

In an effort to help corporations and associations reduce costs and achieve more successful meetings during this tough economic climate, The New Orleans CVB and the New Orleans Morial Convention Center have extended its offer “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 2012.

James Beard Award winning Chef Donald Link announced the opening of Cochon BUTCHER. A tribute to old world butcher and charcuterie shops, Cochon BUTCHER serves as both a neighborhood shop and a swank new wine bar and eatery.

In order to showcase the unique history and culture of the Crescent City, the New Orleans CVB has announced the launch of the “NOLA Destination Fun Kit,” an innovative and interactive learning tool designed specifically for motorcoach tour participants.

The Crowne Plaza New Orleans Airport, formerly the Holiday Inn Holidome, opened on December 1, 2008. The 292-room hotel invested $30 million in renovations and upgrades.

Tales of the Cocktail, a five-day cocktail and culinary festival, has announced that the 2008 festival produced an economic impact of $7.6 million and over $560,000 in state and local tax revenue. The information was released in the festival’s recent Visitor Profile and Economic Impact Study conducted by the University of New Orleans

Division of Business and Economic Research. The festival also announced that the July 8-12, 2009, event has been designated as one of the Top 100 Events in North America for 2009 by the American Bus Association (ABA). The ABA chooses events for their top 100 list through an elite tourism industry selection committee.

The New Orleans Morial Convention Center recently issued a statement highlighting the Center’s economic impact report for 2007. In 2007, the Convention Center generated $103.47 million in local and state taxes, supported almost 18,000 jobs and had an overall economic impact of $1.26 billion, making it one of the single most important assets for Louisiana.

City Park received $2 million from the non-profit Trust for Public Land to transform 50 acres next to the New Orleans Museum of Art. The project will add new landscaping and a bicycle path.

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
Federation of American Societies/Experimental Biology/April 18-22
Sourcemedia Conferences & Events/May 4-7
Direct Marketing Association/April 6-8
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

2008 Milestones
Bobby Jindal was inaugurated as Louisiana Governor on January 14, 2008. Jindal at thirty-six years of age, is the nation’s youngest governor and his focus on creating a fresh start for Louisiana in ethics, education, economic infrastructure and healthcare will dramatically improve New Orleans’ image in the nation’s eyes.

April 21-22, 2008, New Orleans successfully hosted U.S. President George W. Bush, Mexican President Felipe Calderón and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the North American Leaders’ Summit (NALS). The leaders met to discuss the future prosperity of the North American continent and addressed issues such as free trade and immigration. President Bush chose New Orleans as the Summit destination to showcase the city’s resurgence as a meeting destination.

New Orleans was the site for the celebration of “V to the Tenth,” April 10-11, 2008, which brought many celebrities to the city for a historic benefit performance and a celebration of the 10th Anniversary of “The Vagina Monologues.”

The Audubon Insectarium, the largest free-standing museum in the United States dedicated to insects, opened in New Orleans on June 13, 2008. The Audubon Insectarium has 900,000+ known insects and their relatives. In its first two months, it welcomed nearly 100,000 visitors which exceeded expectations.

The Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SoFAB) opened its doors in the Riverwalk Marketplace on June 5, 2008. SoFAB, a non-profit museum dedicated completely to food and beverage and its impact on the South, is also home of the Museum of the American Cocktail (MOTAC), which opened July 21, 2008.

On June 22, 2008, the entire St. Charles Streetcar Line reopened, including the S. Carrollton Avenue leg. The historic St. Charles Streetcar Line has been a New Orleans tradition since the 19th century and is a convenient and inexpensive way for locals and visitors alike to enjoy the city. The St. Charles Streetcar line, with transport to S. Carrollton Avenue, reopened December 23, 2007.

The Louisiana Office of Tourism announced the first phase of the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail, a list of historical sites honoring African Americans in Louisiana that changed the world through their ideas, art and actions. Beginning in New Orleans, guests are invited to take a tour of Louisiana and visit churches, universities, marketplaces, cafés and the many other historical sites that contribute to Louisiana’s unique culture.

Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World expanded to a new location just upriver from the New Orleans Morial Convention Center. The multi-purpose complex is 300,000 square feet and is the site of the company’s new corporate headquarters. It also hosts private events, houses the company’s float building operations and will be home of the new Mardi Gras World.

The National World War II Museum launched The Road to Victory: A Vision for Future Generations capital campaign, a $300 million expansion that will quadruple the size of the existing facility. The expansion will be completed in phases by 2015 and will feature galleries, exhibits, a theater and USO entertainment venue, a themed restaurant, a public parade ground and a national center for research on the war.

The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) hosted many successful exhibits in 2008 including George Rodrigue’s Louisiana: Cajuns, Blue Dogs, and Beyond Katrina which was on display March 2-June 8, 2008. Total attendance for the exhibit was 52,813 visitors, a record for an exhibition of work by a living artist. The Baroque World of Fernando Botero was on display June 28-September 21, 2008. The exhibit showcased 100 paintings, sculptures and drawings from over 40 years of Latin America’s most famous living artist, Fernando Botero.

The first annual Krewe of Boo parade rolled through the streets of New Orleans October 31, 2008. Krewe of Boo was produced by Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World and all proceeds from the event benefited New Orleans police, fire and EMS personnel.

The Regional Transit Authority announced that six of the 24 red streetcars were restored and began rolling down Canal Street in December 2008. The red cars, which were built in 2004, will be used along with the 1920s-era green cars that have recently been seen rolling down the St. Charles Avenue and Canal Street lines.

2008 Festivals
According to Satchmo SummerFest organizers, 26,000-30,000 music fans attended this year’s events at the Old U.S. Mint as well as special events leading up to the 2008 festival. Satchmo SummerFest celebrates the life of New Orleans’ own Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong.

August 27-September 1, 2008, Southern Decadence Festival, also known as “Gay Mardi Gras,” celebrated gay life, music and culture in New Orleans. Although the 2008 festival was cut short due to Hurricane Gustav, the 2007 festival had an estimated 100,000 attendees.

Voodoo Music Experience, a concert dedicated to celebrating music through a variety of genres, was held October 24, 25 and 26, 2008, in City Park. This year’s performers included R.E.M., Wyclef Jean, Erykah Badu, Lil Wayne, Panic at the Disco and many more. In 2007, the event had an approximate attendance of 100,000, with officials reporting similar numbers for the 2008 concert.

2008 Meetings & Conventions Milestones
The American Library Association (ALA) announced that it will bring its annual conference to New Orleans in 2011 and 2018. The 65,000-member organization brought the first city-wide conference post-Katrina to the city in 2006, with nearly 17,000 librarians and library supporters in attendance.

Pittcon® 2008, the 59th Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy, was held March 1-7, 2008, at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center. Attendance was 19,535. They have also re-confirmed New Orleans for the 2013 conference. Pittcon® has been an extraordinary ambassador to New Orleans, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to the science departments of the New Orleans public schools.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) presented the Cable Show at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center May 17-20, 2008. The annual convention showcased upcoming trends in the cable world and celebrated the industry with over 14,000 attendees. Cable Cares, an industry-wide community service initiative, provided a hand to schools throughout the New Orleans area. This year, hundreds of workers from Cable Cares were committed to rebuilding two new playgrounds for elementary schools, wired a school with advanced cable services, painted and landscaped the grounds of a local high school and donated thousands of books to libraries in need through a book drive.

SNM (Society of Nuclear Medicine) met in New Orleans June 14-18, 2008, with record attendance of 6,300, which exceeded normal levels of 4,000.

New Orleans hosted the 2008 Starbucks Leadership Conference October 26-30, 2008. The conference marked the first time in history that Starbucks hosted this gathering outside of its headquarter city.

New Orleans welcomed The American Heart Association (AHA), the most prominent city-wide convention in 2008, for Scientific Sessions November 8-12. The convention marked the second time this year American Heart brought a major convention to New Orleans. The AHA/American Stroke Association (ASA) International Stroke Conference with the State-of-the-Art Stroke Nursing Symposium, was held February 19-22, 2008.

The International WorkBoat Show was in New Orleans December 3-5, 2008. The event was also held in 2006 and 2007 and has announced its plans to return to New Orleans in December 2009.

The American Trucking Association (ATA) convened in New Orleans on October 4-7, 2008, and discussed the impact of diesel price increases on the motor carrier industry.

Corporate America has rediscovered New Orleans as a meeting destination, bringing new, shorter-term meetings business to the city. Many corporations are drawn to New Orleans for the wealth of “voluntourism” opportunities available during meetings to expand strategic philanthropic and branding efforts. Corporate meetings held in the city in 2008 included Starbucks, Shaklee and McAlister’s Deli.

Meetings (3,000 or more in attendance) in 2008 include:
Allied Social Sciences Association/Jan. 3-5
American Farm Bureau/Jan. 12-15
Helen Brett Enterprises/Feb. 8-12
American Traffic Safety Services Association/Feb. 9-12
National Basketball Association/Feb. 14-17
Pittsburgh Conference & Expo/Mar. 1-6
The Minerals Metals Materials Society/Mar. 8-12
American Physical Society/Mar. 9-13
Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development/Mar. 14-17
NACE, International/Mar. 16-20
American Chemical Society/Apr. 6-9
Population Association of America/Apr. 16-18
American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists/May 1-9
Helen Brett Enterprises/May 16-21
National Cable & Telecommunications Association/May 17-20
American Association of Airport Executives/ June 8-11
Society of Nuclear Medicine/June 13-17
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools/June 22-24
Institute of Food Technologists/June 28-July 1
Jazzercise/July 10-11
U.S. Department of Labor/July 14-16
American Veterinary Medical Association/July 18-22
National Conference of State Legislatures/July 22-26
Louisiana Restaurant Association/Aug. 2-4
Shaklee/Aug. 6-9
American Correctional Association/Aug. 9-13
Blacks in Government/Aug. 10-15
American Public Works Association/Aug. 16-19
Starbucks Leadership Conference/ Oct. 26-30
American Heart Association/Nov. 9-12
American Society of Consultant Pharmacists/Nov. 18-22
Helen Brett Enterprises/Nov. 21-24
Diversified Business Communications/Dec. 3-5

2008 New Orleans CVB Milestones
The New Orleans CVB was once again recognized by its customers as one of the top five CVBs in the world with the prominent Gold Service Elite Award for 2008 from Meetings and Conventions Magazine.

The New Orleans CVB has received the Gold Service Award every year since 1984, and since the Elite award was introduced in 2001, the New Orleans CVB has been selected as Elite six times in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2008.

J. Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans CVB, was nominated to serve on three of the most prestigious boards in the tourism industry. On May 20, 2008, Perry was sworn in by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez as a member of the United States Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. He was also recently named a member of the Travel Industry of America's Board of Directors and will serve on the Public Policy Committee, and was unanimously nominated as Secretary-Treasurer of the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) Board of Directors.

Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, appointed Mayor C. Ray Nagin to travel to Zhenzhou, China to attend the International Mayor’s Forum on Tourism where Mayor Nagin joined more than 400 mayors from China and around the world to discuss world tourism in April 2008.

The New Orleans CVB was honored with three 2008 Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) awards. The CVB won the Gold Award for Feature Placement Print – Consumer Newspaper, for the entry entitled “Dallas Takes a Bite out of Sandwich City", the Silver Award for Re-Launch of Existing Product “New Orleans’ Historic Streetcars Back on Track” and the Bronze Award for the Feature Placement category – Radio, for the entry entitled “French Quarter Festival Tops the Radio Charts.”

The CVBs “Forever New Orleans” campaign was honored by HSMAI 2007. The “Forever New Orleans” print advertising campaign, with agency partner Trumpet, was awarded a Silver certificate in the advertising division within CVBs/Destinations/Offices of Tourism in the positioning category. The New Orleans CVB’s itinerary-building Web Site,, with agency partner Trumpet, won a Gold Award in the web marketing division within CVBs/Destinations/Offices of Tourism in the Web Site category. Its Platinum status made eligible for the Gala’s most prestigious award, “Best in Show,” which it won.

The New Orleans CVBs 2007 public relations program and 10-city road show with agency partner Weber Shandwick also received a Gold and a Bronze HSMAI Adrian Awards.

Harvey Grotsky, president and CEO of Coastal Communications Corporation, the publisher of Association Conventions & Facilities, Insurance & Financial Meetings Management and Corporate & Incentive Travel, recently announced that the New Orleans CVB is a 2008 winner of the Distinctive Achievement Award, The World Class Award and the Award of Excellence.

2008 Sports Milestones
The Allstate BCS National Championship was held January 7, 2008, where the Louisiana State University Tigers defeated the Ohio State University Buckeyes before a Sugar Bowl/Superdome record crowd of 79,651. Economic impact was approximately $250 million.

February 14-17, 2008, New Orleans successfully hosted the NBA All-Star Events as well as the NBA All-Star Jam Session. Approximately 50,000 to 60,000 visitors poured into the city having an estimated economic impact of $80-90 million. On February 15, 2008, through NBA Cares, more than 2,500 volunteers in the NBA community came together to participate in the NBA’s Day of Service, where volunteers helped build homes and playgrounds, revitalize schools, and refurbish neighborhoods.

The 2008 PGA Zurich Classic was held at the Tournament Players Club of Louisiana (TPC) on March 24-30, 2008. Andrés Romero won the tournament after shooting a final round 68 and 13-under-par.

Hornets head coach Byron Scott received the honor of NBA Coach of the Year for his leadership during the Hornets 56-26 regular season. The New Orleans Hornets returned full-time to the city for the 2007-2008 NBA basketball season. Hornets star Chris Paul signed a contract on July 9, 2008, extending his stay as a New Orleans Hornet, while head coach Byron Scott also signed a new contract, extending his stay in New Orleans for another two years.

New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul competed in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Paul and the U.S. basketball team won the gold medal after defeating Spain 118-107.

New Orleans hosted a successful ArenaBowl XXII on Sunday, July 27, 2008. It was said that ArenaBowl XXI weekend in July 2007 was one of the most successful events in AFL history.

The New Orleans Saints began their regular season September 7, 2008, in the Superdome when they defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The season was once again sold-out with a waiting list for tickets, including suites.

Grambling State University and Southern University met for another gridiron football match-up as the teams faced-off in the Louisiana Superdome for the 35th Annual State Farm Bayou Classic, November 29, 2008. This year’s events included a job fair, college fair, volunteering opportunities and of course, the always popular Battle of the Bands and Greek Show.

The R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl was held in the Louisiana Superdome December 21, 2008. During the annual football game the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles defeated the Troy University Trojans. Approximately 30,197 fans attended the game. Other festivities included the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Fan Fest at Fulton Street on Saturday, December 20. The 2007 game estimated 25,146 attendees.

SportsTravel magazine announced that the 2008 BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans was named the Best Collegiate Single-Sport Event for the 2008 SportsTravel Awards at the TEAMS 2008 Conference & Expo.

2008 Milestones in Marketing New Orleans
“Forever New Orleans TV,” a 30-minute travel television show hosted by Karen Carlson, showcases the eclectic nature and vibrant culture of the city and aired during the fall of 2007 in 51 countries in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, reaching 119 million homes. It also aired during the Travel Channel’s paid programming block in April and July 2008.

New Orleans’ 2007 Visitor Numbers increased from 3.7 million in 2006 to 7.1 million in 2007 according to a survey conducted by the University of New Orleans Hospitality Research Center for the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau and New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. In 2007, visitors spent a total of $4.8 billion, compared to $2.8 billion in 2006. Continued marketing, sales and promotion will be key to achieving pre-Katrina visitor levels of 8.5 million people per year.

Travel Weekly, the travel trade’s leading magazine, partnered with the New Orleans CVB and the Hotel Monteleone to host the first annual Travel Weekly New Orleans Leadership Forum on May 22, 2008. The forum brought together high-ranking tourism officials and members of New Orleans’ tourism industry to talk about new and innovative ways to market the city.

2008 New Orleans Hospitality and Tourism Milestones
New Orleans has been named the best city to dine in the United States, taking top honors for the “Destination Restaurant” category and best in overall “Food/Dining” in Headline News and Travel + Leisure Magazine’s annual “America’s Favorite Cities” survey. New Orleans also was honored as the best place in the country for live music, and ranked second nationally for nightlife.

Tuesday following the BCS National Championship game, more than 19,000 passengers flew out of the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, making it the airport’s busiest travel day since August 2005. On the Monday following the second weekend of Jazz Fest, the airport had nearly 18,000 passengers, making it the second busiest day.

Delta Air Lines Sky Magazine featured a 44-page Portrait Feature on New Orleans in its January 2008 issue.

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport tied for third place in the J.D. Powers 2008 North American Airport Satisfaction Index Study in the small airport category. More than 21,165 passengers who took a round-trip flight between April 2007 and March 2008 voted New Orleans for this honor.

On May 1, 2008, the first direct JetBlue Airways flight from Boston landed in New Orleans.

Thanks to millions of travelers, New Orleans was recognized by TripAdvisor® for the 2008 Travelers’ Choice Destinations Award in the categories of Top 100 World and Top 25 United States.

New Orleans was among the top 10 spring break destinations for 2008 by, an online travel agency specializing in vacations for college students. Sherman’s Travel also had New Orleans in its 2008 top 10 “places to go.”

New Orleans’ Chef John Besh was honored with the 2008 Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA) Restaurateur of the Year award, the LRA’s most prestigious award. The award honors an individual who is dedicated to Louisiana’s restaurant industry and is active within the local community. Besh owns and operates four restaurants in the New Orleans area including Restaurant August, Lüke, Besh Steak and La Provence.

The evacuation of some 30,000 visitors to the city Labor Day Weekend in less than 24 hours went well and almost flawlessly followed the emergency plan established after Hurricane Katrina. The city received positive national media coverage for its preparedness and the outstanding leadership of government officials. Today, New Orleans is proud to not only be the nation’s leader in fun, food, music and major cultural and sporting events, but now to be the most sophisticated destination in the world in all levels of emergency planning, execution and visitor management.

New Orleans was honored with an Editor’s Pick Award by TravelAge West Magazine in the category of “Best U.S. City for an Urban Vacation” as part of the magazine’s WAVE (Western Agents’ Votes of Excellence) Awards.

Hospitality and Tourism
Hotels: Overall 208 metropolitan area accommodations are open, with more than 33,000 of 38,000 hotel rooms available. The vast majority of hotel properties have completed renovations and upgrades since 2005. In the past three years, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on hotel renovations in the metro New Orleans area. Major hotel brands such as Hilton, Marriott and Starwood are making investments in New Orleans with renovations and upgrades to local properties.

The Hilton New Orleans Riverside has received approximately $65 million for a series of ongoing improvements designed to complement the city’s renaissance and revitalize the 30-year-old Southeastern flagship of Hilton Hotels Corporation.

The Hilton Hotels Corporation is redeveloping the former Fairmont New Orleans, also known as The Roosevelt, as part of the Waldorf =Astoria Collection®. The new hotel will have 505 rooms, of which 125 will be luxury suites, state-of-the-art meeting and convention rooms; and a 12,000-square-foot, world-class spa and fitness center. The cost of the renovation, which includes every detail from restored chandeliers to first-class accommodations, is expected to exceed $135 million with completion and opening of The Roosevelt scheduled for June 2009.

The Crowne Plaza New Orleans Airport, formerly the Holiday Inn Holidome, opened on December 1, 2008. The 292-room hotel invested $30 million in renovations and upgrades.

The Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel announced that the 707-room hotel underwent a multi-million dollar renovation including refurbishments of guestrooms, meeting space, the lobby, executive lounge and fitness center. The renovation began in July, was completed in November of 2008.

The Chateau Sonesta Hotel, converted from the historic former D.H. Holmes department store by HRI Properties, Inc., changed its name on October 24, 2008, to the Chateau Bourbon-A Wyndham Historic Hotel.

Seventy million dollars has been spent to refurbish the former Krauss Department Store into the 1201 Canal Condominium Development, a 233-unit luxury project on Canal Street.

The Wyndham Canal Place is now operating as a Westin and completed a $22 million renovation in January 2008.

Plans have been announced for Louisiana’s first condo hotel, the 131-room Royal Cosmopolitan. Fifty million dollars will be spent to renovate the 100-year-old Astor Hotel building at 121-25 Royal St. The Royal Cosmopolitan will operate as a “condotel,” in which rooms are available for sale as condominiums and buyers have the option to share in the revenue from guests who stay there when the owner does not.

The Marriott New Orleans Hotel underwent a $38 million renovation that was completed on October 1, 2007, with the unveiling of the hotel’s brand-new lobby, restaurant, suites and meeting space. The Prince Conti Hotel completed renovations in September 2008, and the Baronne Plaza Hotel has completed room renovations and is scheduled to complete meeting space renovations in early 2009.

The Hilton St. Charles Hotel re-opened in June 2007.

Harrah’s Hotel opened in September 2006, and the Ritz-Carlton and Chateau Sonesta re-opened in December 2006, after extensive renovations. The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans’ Iberville Suites reopened in March 2007, after an extensive renovation and added 230 rooms to New Orleans’ hotel inventory.

New Orleans’ tourism community proved to be exceptionally well prepared for Hurricane Gustav, which made landfall in Southern Louisiana on September 1, 2008. The city’s hotels, restaurants, tourism venues and attractions are open and only experienced a few days of disruption from the storm, with one exception – the 166-room La Quinta Inn & Suites, located at 301 Camp Street, has temporarily closed due to fire damage, but is expected to re-open in February 2009 after a complete renovation of the hotel’s interior and exterior.

Dining: There are more restaurants open in New Orleans today than ever before. According to Tom Fitzmorris and, there are 980 restaurants open in the metropolitan New Orleans area, including restaurants in the French Quarter, Downtown, Warehouse Arts District, Garden District and Uptown New Orleans.

Airport: Airlines operating out of the Armstrong International Airport include: Air Tran, American Airlines, Continental, Delta Air Lines, Jet Blue, Northwest, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and U.S. Airways.

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport reports that in February 2009, there are 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). The New Orleans CVB is working with the airlines and airport officials with regard to convention scheduling to ensure adequate lift to meet demand. Also, the airport is now providing free WiFi to the traveling public on the second level of the terminal building.

The Armstrong International Airport has been busy making several enhancements to its facility through the $8 million “Music to your Eyes” campaign. To improve customer service, the airport has been making external terminal improvements to the building including the paving, lighting and replacement of terminal roadway signage. There will also be increased walkways areas near the curbside check-in locations. Inside the terminals, the public areas, including ticket lobbies, baggage claim and terminal concourses are also being refurbished, in addition to lighting and door and window units.

Armstrong International Airport opened a walking path at the airport for employees and interested passengers in December 2008. The path is approximately 4/10 of a mile and is a marked area within the airport terminal.

In 2008, Southwest added a nonstop daily flight to Fort Lauderdale, Denver and Orlando. In May of 2008, Jet Blue Airways introduced a nonstop daily flight to Boston.

Cruises: The Norwegian Cruise Lines and Carnival Cruise Lines are sailing from New Orleans.

Although the Riverbarge Excursion Lines will halt all operations in 2009, plenty of cruises will continue to sail from New Orleans.

The Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Spirit underwent a multi-million dollar refurbishment before settling in New Orleans, the ship’s homeport for the winter season. A few of the renovations include new wallpaper, curtains and carpet, as well as an upgraded spa and fitness center.

Carnival Cruise Lines reaffirmed its commitment to New Orleans. The cruise line has announced that it will replace its cruise ship, the Fantasy, with a larger ship, the Triumph, on November 14, 2009. The Triumph will provide passengers with four, five and seven-day cruises and will carry 50,000 more passengers a year. There will be no interruption in service for New Orleans during the transition.

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

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