Media Contacts:
Kelly Schulz
New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau
504-566-5045 / 504-421-0962 (cell)

Mary Beth Romig
504-566-5050 / 504-606-8430 (cell)

Stephen Perry, President & CEO of the New Orleans CVB, Named One of Top 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry by MeetingNews
New Orleans CVB clients also honored for bringing meetings to New Orleans to support city’s rebirth

NEW ORLEANS - Aug. 2, 2006 – Stephen Perry, President & CEO of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, has been honored by MeetingNews Magazine as one of the “25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry.”

In doing so, Meeting News in its August 1st issue stated:

Sometimes fate conspires to put great events and great leaders together in the same place. Such is the case with Stephen Perry.

If anyone was in a position to raise the Big Easy's meetings market toward its former position of dominance, it was Perry. … Since Katrina, Perry has worked tirelessly to shore up meetings business in the short term while planning for the future prosperity of the city's tourism infrastructure. Many of the CVB's post-Katrina initiatives have their roots in a premise that meetings business can be the catalyst of recovery for this storied city.

As terrible as it was, Katrina presented a tremendous opportunity to show the economic impact of meetings in a major group market. Fortunately for New Orleans and the meetings industry, a visionary leader such as Perry is in place to take advantage of that opportunity.”

According to Terry Epton, CITE, DMCP, Chief Executive Officer of USA Hosts, Ltd. and Chairman of the Board for the New Orleans CVB, "Stephen's assiduous work ethic coupled with his superior communications skills have served our city's visitor industry in its most trying hours. His unique skill set includes a solid share of political savvy, which has become something we rely on heavily these days. I believe that fate had a hand in putting Stephen Perry in his current position. He is truly the right man for our time."

Accompanying Perry on the list are such industry luminaries as William Peeper, President and CEO of the Orlando/Orange County CVB; Stephen Bollenbach, Chief Executive of Hilton Hotels Corporation; Mary Power, President/CEO of the Convention Industry Council; Steven Heyer, CEO, Starwood Hotels & Resorts; and Ed Shartar, Chief Executive of Conferon Global Services.

Christine Duffy, President/CEO, Maritz Travel Co., Fenton, Missouri also joins the list. Duffy, described by Meeting News as one of the most active and successful chairpersons in the history of Meeting Professionals International, was instrumental in bringing her company’s annual meeting, traditionally held in St. Louis, Missouri, to New Orleans this past spring. Her visit was accompanied by passionate pleas to clients to follow Maritz Travel’s own example by holding meetings in New Orleans.

Also recognized was Diedre Ross, CMP, Director of Convention Services for the American Library Association. Meeting News recognized ALA’s decision to commit to its June 2006 annual convention in New Orleans, the first major convention to convene in the city since Hurricane Katrina. Ross accompanied association leaders to New Orleans to see for themselves whether the city was ready to accommodate groups again. And Ross, along with other ALA staffers, produced impressive marketing material to address nearly every conceivable concern that might arise in the minds of convention delegates.

“This is a well-deserved honor for Stephen Perry, as he has led us through some difficult months with his vision and positive energy, to witness the return of conventions and meetings in New Orleans,” says Mark Sanders, General Manager of the New Orleans Marriott. “Under his leadership, the entire staff of the CVB has worked diligently with the city’s hospitality industry to spread the word internationally that New Orleans is open for business. We were among the first industries to stand up after the hurricane, and remain an important economic engine for the city and the state.”

Before taking the lead of the NOMCVB in 2002, Perry served as Louisiana Governor Mike Foster’s Chief of Staff from the time the governor took office in January 1996. In that capacity, he helped put together the governor’s economic development package, including financing for Phase IV of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Perry holds B.A. degrees in History and Russian Area Studies from LSU, an M.A. in Anthropology from LSU, and he completed the Senior Executives Program in State and Local Government offered by the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

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.