January 9, 2009

       The "Superbowl of Meetings" Kicks off this Weekend in New Orleans with enormous
                                              impact on the future of New Orleans Meetings Industry
Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA)’s Annual Meeting Brings 3,000 of the Nation’s 
                            Top Meeting Planner Decision-Makers to New Orleans January 11-14, 2009

WHAT: PCMA’s 2009 Annual Meeting

WHERE: New Orleans Morial Convention Center, Halls E-F

WHEN: Sunday, January 11-Wednesday, January 14, 2009

January 11-14, 2009, thousands of the nation's meeting planners and convention executives, who make over $40 billion of meeting commitments annually, will descend upon New Orleans for the 2009 Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) annual meeting.

This gathering is the single biggest and most impactful economic development effort in the state of Louisiana in 2009 in any business sector because PCMA meeting planner attendees are responsible for selecting destinations for future conferences being planned by their associations and corporations.

PCMA will generate more impact for New Orleans than the Sugar Bowl, BCS, NBA All-Star and Super Bowl combined.

Louisiana Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu will welcome and thank PCMA as he kicks off the Opening General Session on Monday morning at 8:30 a.m. at the Morial Convention Center.

According to J. Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), “The hospitality industry is looking forward to rolling out the red carpet for our long-time PCMA customers and friends that drive New Orleans’ most important economic engine. The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau books approximately $1.6 billion of new meetings and convention business each year. Seventy percent of those convention customers will be in the city over the next few days attending the PCMA meeting. The welcome and experience of these planners will largely determine the fate of the next five to seven years in the New Orleans convention industry.”

Hundreds of members of New Orleans’ hospitality community have volunteered countless hours over the past 18 months to organize all aspects of the conference and showcase the best of New Orleans

Chicago-based PCMA represents more than 6,000 meeting industry leaders including planner professionals, suppliers, faculty and students. Aside from students and faculty, members are categorized as either a professional or supplier based on their position. PCMA membership is nearly an even split between suppliers and professionals. This annual meeting offers more than 80 education sessions on topics such as budget pressures, negotiations, smart partnerships as well as new tips and trends of the meetings and convention industry.

According to Nancy Elder, 2008 PCMA Chairman of the Board, "The business of meetings, and a significant workforce that develops and supports it, can greatly impact global economic conditions. We are delighted to launch 2009 with this educational event in New Orleans."

Christie Hicks, Chair of the PCMA Education Foundation, added, “Leaving a mark on the communities that support the PCMA Education Foundation is something we strive to achieve. Proceeds from Party With a Purpose will benefit The Play It Forward Foundation as a way to give back. As well, a portion of individual gifts will go to fund wetland plantings through the Gulf Coast Wetlands Restoration Project. It’s easy to give back to New Orleans – a city that has always supported the convention and meetings industry. And it is wonderful to kick off 2009 with PCMA in the Crescent City.”


· Sat, Jan 10; Hospitality Helping Hands: St. Bernard Project, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.; City Park, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. & 9 a.m.-

7 p.m.

· Sun, Jan 11; Hospitality Helping Hands: Save Our Cemeteries, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. & 12 p.m.-4 p.m.

· Sun, Jan 11; Opening Welcome Reception, Mardi Gras World East, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

· Monday, Jan. 12: Louisiana Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu to welcome the group at the Opening General Session, 8:30 a.m., New Orleans Morial Convention Center, Conference Auditorium

· Mon, Jan 12; 16th Annual Party with a Purpose with proceeds benefiting Payton’s Play It Forward Foundation, House of Blues, 9 p.m.-12 a.m.

· Tues, Jan 13; PCMA Fun Run/Walk, Begins at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas (on the jogger’s path between the Aquarium and the Mississippi River) and ends at the New Orleans Board of Trade, 6 a.m.-7 a.m.

· Tues, Jan 13, General Session “What’s Next for the Markets and the Economy” featuring Professor Jeremy Siegel, columnist for Kiplinger’s and Yahoo! Finance, Conference Auditorium, 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m.

· Tues, Jan 13; Evening Reception: The Soul of New Orleans featuring the Neville Brothers; the Queen of Soul, Irma Thomas; Big Sam’s Funky Nation and many more, Louisiana Superdome, 6:30 p.m.-9 p.m.

Press Room: New Orleans Morial Convention Center, Room 341, 504-670-4105
Press Room hours:
Saturday: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday – Tuesday: 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Wednesday: 7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

PCMA: Julie Fawcett, 859-912-1615,
New Orleans CVB: Kelly Schulz, 504-421-0962,; Tara Letort, 504-566-5019,; Mary Beth Romig, 504-606-8430,

New Orleans Morial Convention Center: Tim Hemphill, 407-920-1256,