Media Contacts:

Kelly Schulz
New Orleans CVB
504-566-5045  office
504-421-0962 cell

Kathryn Goldstein
Meeting Professionals International
972-702-3071 office
214-606-5343 cell

Sabrina Written
Morial Convention Center
504-582-3027 office
504-628-8201 cell

Conference expected to provide immediate economic boost to city and generate millions of dollars in future convention business

NEW ORLEANS (Dec. 20, 2006) – New Orleans’ convention industry will secure another victory when it hosts the largest and most influential association for meeting professionals, Meeting Professionals International’s (MPI) 2007 Professional Education Conference – North America, Jan. 20 - 23, 2007 at the Morial Convention Center. The conference expects to bring more than 2,500 meeting professionals to the Crescent City.

The conference is expected to generate millions of dollars in immediate economic impact to New Orleans, but more importantly, is a prime opportunity to showcase historic New Orleans as a leading destination for future meetings being planned by MPI members. MPI is the largest global association for the meetings profession with 21,000 members living in more than 65 countries. According to a recent study, MPI members in the U.S. have an average buying power of more than $122.3 billion*.

Most MPI activities will be held at the Morial Convention Center-New Orleans and Center officials look forward to showcasing the results of their recent $60 million facility enhancement.

The theme of MPI’s annual three-day conference, “Experience the Extraordinary,” is a tribute to the city of New Orleans that reflects the educational and networking opportunities available to the attendees. The objective of the conference is to provide meeting professionals an array of experiences to enhance their business skills.

By the Numbers - 2007 Professional Education Conference - North America:

2,500   The number of meeting professionals expected to attend

300      Booths and exhibits at the EXPO on Sunday, Jan. 21

85  Professional development sessions for the novice, intermediate and senior planners and for the supplier

4 Featured speakers throughout the conference

3 Evening events for networking and socializing

2 City Tours, Saturday, Jan. 20 and Wednesday, Jan. 24

2 Conclaves, one for students and one for faculty on Saturday, Jan. 20

1 Charity Golf Tournament on Wednesday, Jan. 24

1 School, Lafayette Charter School, that volunteers will help renovate

“Watching the rebuilding of New Orleans is inspiring and we are passionate about playing a part in making this great city more remarkable than ever,” said Bruce MacMillan, president and CEO of MPI. “A meeting of this type is a positive sign along two fronts. First, New Orleans is back, confirming that the city has made tremendous strides in delivering success. Second, the meetings industry is healthy, as this conference promises to be MPI’s largest ever Professional Education Conference-North America.”

Media Credentials for 2007 Professional Education Conference- North America
For complimentary media registration and credentials to the conference or to attend the VIP Media Event on Saturday, Jan. 20, please contact Kathryn Goldstein or visit the MPI Press Office at Room 293 of the Ernest Morial Convention Center.

Office Hours:
Sunday, Jan. 21 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 22 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 23 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

For more information on the 2007 Professional Education Conference- North America, visit the MPI Web site at

Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau added, “Meetings are big business for New Orleans. Hosting MPI’s 2007 conference is one of the most economically and emotionally powerful signs that New Orleans’ convention industry is back. This conference was booked before Katrina and we are so grateful to MPI’s leadership for choosing to stay in New Orleans. Seeing is believing so we are going to show the world’s most influential meeting professionals why New Orleans is the most authentic, culturally rich destination in the world committed to exceeding the expectations of all who plan and attend meetings here.”

“It’s an extraordinary honor to welcome Meeting Professional International’s Professional Education Conference back to New Orleans. It’s also an exciting opportunity for us to showcase the new Morial Convention Center and all of the amenities and benefits of meeting in one of America’s top convention destinations,” said Jimmie D. Fore, president and general manager of the Morial Convention Center.

About New Orleans
Since Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, the metropolitan New Orleans community has been the beneficiary of an incredible outpouring of support from visitors. From convention delegates to leisure travelers to church groups and college students, people have shown generosity by giving their time and talent, and a great deal of elbow grease, helping the city in its restoration.

For example, at the annual convention of the National Association of Realtors®, over 2,000 REALTORS® donated more than $5 million to the REALTORS® Relief Fund; renovated schools, libraries and playgrounds; and built 54 Habitat for Humanity homes. In June 2006, members of the American Library Association, the first citywide meeting to return to New Orleans, refurbished libraries in the city’s neighborhoods.

Hosting MPI adds to a series of milestones for New Orleans’ most important industry - hospitality – which generates 35 percent of the city’s operating budget.

The National Association of Realtors’ “NARdi Gras,” city wide convention successfully hosted approximately 24,000 attendees in mid-November, marking the largest convention of 2006. The State Farm Bayou Classic returned to the Louisiana Superdome Thanksgiving weekend, cruise lines returned this fall, and the Ritz Carlton, after investing over $100 million in renovations, reopened in December. The Sugar Bowl features LSU and Notre Dame in the Superdome on January 3. The Essence Festival is returning to New Orleans July 5-7, 2007, and the ArenaBowl XXI will be played in July.

In addition to MPI, New Orleans will host many prominent association and corporate meetings in early 2007, including: Professional Housing Management Association; IBM; Healthcare Information & Management Society; American Association of School Administrators; National Electrical Manufacturers Association; National Collegiate Athletic Association; American College of Healthcare Executives; International Association for Dental Research; American College of Cardiology; American Institute of Steel Construction; and Risk & Insurance Management Society. Other meetings convening in New Orleans in mid - late 2007 include the American College of Surgeons; American Academy of Ophthalmology; the International Association of Chiefs of Police and many other corporate and association meetings.

About Meeting Professionals International
Meeting Professionals International is the association for the global meetings industry and is committed to delivering success for its 21,000 worldwide members by providing innovative professional development, generating industry awareness and creating business development opportunities. Founded in 1972, the Dallas-based organization delivers success through its 68 chapters and clubs in 20 countries around the world. For more information, visit

About the Morial Convention Center-New Orleans
With 1.1 million square feet of contiguous exhibit space, an award-winning staff and first class amenities, the new and improved Morial Convention Center-New Orleans is the sixth largest convention center in the nation and a consistent Top 10 host of the largest number of conventions and tradeshows annually. A leading rainmaker of the New Orleans hospitality industry, MCC event activity has produced $35.17 billion in economic impact since 1985, including $2.03 billion in new statewide tax revenues.

About the New Orleans CVB
The New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau ( is the driving force behind New Orleans' most important industry, tourism, which generates $5 billion in visitor spending and creates 85,000 jobs. 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 and Garden District - not only remains intact, both physically and spiritually, but is thriving. The New Orleans CVB is proudly welcoming visitors and business travelers every day.


* Convention Industry Council, 2005