APRIL 19, 2006

Kelly Schulz
Vice President, Communications & Public Relations
New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau

Mary Beth Romig
Director, Communications & Public Relations
New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau
504-606-8430 (c)


$30 million allocated for funding by the Louisiana Recovery Authority

Tourism funding to directly boost local economy in the short term and provide much-needed support for city’s economic development and long-term operating budget

New Orleans, La. –- In a meeting with the full Louisiana Recovery Authority in Baton Rouge, Louisiana earlier today, Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu and J. Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau (NOMCVB) appeared and testified following the Economic Development/Workforce Report.

Matt Stuller, the Chair of the Economic Development/Workforce Committee offered public testimony regarding the $350 million allotment of the $6.2 billion CDBG appropriation from last December, in which he also included an update on the progress toward housing.

The $350 million is considerably less than what the New Orleans business community would have preferred, but does allow for short and long term low interest recovery loans, technical support and grants to small businesses, and financial support for workforce training. In addition, it allows for the allocation of $30 million to support marketing, public relations and direct sales to re-image and re-brand the city as a tourist destination and a viable commercial environment, promoting New Orleans as a top destination world-wide. The $30 million is to be shared between the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Louisiana Office of Tourism, the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation and the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

“We are indebted to Lt. Governor Landrieu and Angèle Davis, Secretary, Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, for their remarkable leadership in rallying our tourism partners to make sure our homework was done and that we were ready to stand up and report that the tourism industry is alive,” said Perry, following the ruling. Perry used the analogy of a domino in stating his case for the importance of tourism as one of the first industries to stand following Hurricane Katrina, and a central domino in the city and state’s ongoing recovery, passing out to the LRA and others actual dominos. “This is an important first step in attracting customers, the net result being billions of dollars in impact on our local economy. Tourism does not just happen, it takes investment and promotion to net results,” Perry said.

The tourism industry is the largest employer in the New Orleans area and the second largest industry in Louisiana, employing over 85,000 people in the city of New Orleans alone.

“While the original request for marketing dollars was higher, this approval for $30 million is a good first step for the tourism industry,” said Perry. The ruling must now go through a 60 – 100 day period for rule promulgation and public comment, then must gain final approval from Governor Blanco and the Louisiana Legislature. The decision must then be submitted to the Department of Housing and Urban Development for its final approval.

Following the announcement, the request was made that this funding be fast-tracked and accelerated in hopes that it would boost summer business, traditionally a slow tourist season in New Orleans. If the fast-tracking does not happen then the earliest impact from these marketing dollars would not be realized until the fall.

About New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau (NOMCVB)
Since 1960, the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau ( has been the driving force behind New Orleans' most important industry, attracting $4.9 billion to the region annually. Nationally recognized for superior customer service, NOMCVB represents over 1,200 members and provides convention services and visitor information for business travelers and vacationers. In 2004, the NOMCVB welcomed a record-breaking 10.1 million visitors to one of America's favorite meeting and leisure destinations. The NOMCVB is committed to rebuilding the city of New Orleans.