What's New in New Orleans' Hospitality Industry
- The National World War II Museum was named the Number 4 museum in the U.S. and the top attraction in New Orleans on TripAdvisor in September 2014. Rankings were based on feedback from millions of the website's visitors and TripAdvisor travelers.
- The National World War II Museum is expanding its exhibits with Campaigns of Courage, a 31,0000-square-foot pavilion that will employ digital technology, personal stories and iconic artifacts to explore the experience of the average American fighting the war. Road to Berlin: European Theater Galleries, an immersive exhibition focusing on battles in Germany, will debut in December 2014, and Road to Tokyo: Pacific Theater Galleries, concentrated on the war in Pacific, will follow in 2015.
- The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is embarking on an ambitious new venture that will revitalize the City's riverfront. The Convention Center District Development Project, situated on 47 acres upriver from the Center, calls for construction of a new "headquarters" hotel, a linear park along Convention Center Boulevard, outdoor entertainment, arts and cultural venues and new retail and housing options.
- The Bicentennial of the Battle of New Orleans will take place in January 2015. In commemoration, a host of events will take place, from Commemoration Day on January 8 to NOLA Navy Week April 20-27. Additionally, Friends of the Cabildo will host a Battle of New Orleans Symposium in conjunction with the bicentennial of the battle on January 10, 2015.
- The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (NORTA) has announced an anticipated French Quarter streetcar expansion. The 2.5-mile segment will run from Canal Street along Rampart Street until Rampart changes to St. Claude and continue to Press Street in the Bywater neighborhood. In addition, a segment will turn off St. Claude down Elysian Fields Avenue toward the river and tie in with the existing Riverfront streetcar line.
- Irvin Mayfield's New Orleans Jazz Orchestra has broken ground on its New Orleans Jazz Market. The new facility, located in the former Gators Department Store, will serve as a performance space and feature music education experiences, a New Orleans Jazz archive, and tributes to current and past Jazz Masters. The New Orleans Jazz Market is expected to open in March of 2015.
- The French Market Corporation and Crescent City Farmers Market will debut a weekly farmers market at the historic French Market property on October 15. The farmers market will take place every Wednesday from 2-6 p.m. and will include live cooking demos, music and local food.
- IndyCar, the premier American-based open-wheel racing series, will race in the New Orleans area for the first time on April 12, 2015. The open-wheel race will take place at NOLA Motorsports Park's 2.75-mile road course in Avondale, Louisiana, approximately 14 miles southwest of downtown New Orleans. The $60 million NOLA Motorsports Park opened in 2011.
- New Orleans Entrepreneur Week will return to New Orleans March 20-27, 2015 for Idea Village's 2015 Entrepreneur Season. The 2014 Entrepreneur Season brought $2.2 million in resources to 834 New Orleans-based startups. Other events during the nine month Entrepreneur Season include IDEAinstitute, IDEAsessions, IDEAx and CapitalX.
- NOLATech Week has returned for its second annual unconference to showcase the Big Easy's entrepreneurial startup and technology community. The weeklong event, which began October 6 and runs through October 11, will promote the city of New Orleans as an emerging global tech innovation hub by bringing local residents and business owners together with the startup community to showcase innovative technology along with the city's culture music and arts. This year the unconference was organized into a non-profit and supported by local organizations.
- The Louisiana Seafood Festival will return to the City Park Festival Grounds October 10-12 to celebrate Louisiana's culinary heritage. The free festival will include live music, cooking demonstrations, an Oktoberfest-themed Beer Garden and more.
- The Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival will take over Lafayette Square October 17-19 to bring the best of Southern blues and smoked meat to New Orleans. This free festival will feature a variety of barbecue styles as well as an Arts Market and an Oral History Stage. Headliners include Los Lobos, Bobby Rush and Ana Popovic.
- New Orleans Film Festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary with showings of 237 films, fifteen of which are world premieres. The growth of the film festival - doubling attendance to 22,000 in the last four years - mirrors the growth of the film industry in New Orleans. Films will screen in venues around the city October 16-20 and include headliner events, locally-shot films and up-and-coming filmmakers.
- Prospect.3, the International Contemporary Art Biennial, announced the artists and framework for its third installment. "Prospect.3: Notes for Now" opens October 25, 2014 and runs through January 25, 2015 across New Orleans, showcasing the work of more than 50 leading and emerging contemporary artists from around the world. Ten to 15 of these artists are being commissioned to create site-specific works for Prospect.3, and the exhibition includes a focus on diversity, with a high percentage of African-American and Gulf region artists.
- The Jazz in the Park Concert Series in Armstrong Park began September 4 and will continue for nine weeks until October 30. Performers include Rebirth Brass Band, Kermit Ruffins, Los Hombres Caliente, Jon Cleary and Nigel Hall and his Congregation.
- Performances of Broadway in New Orleans' Chicago began October 7, 2014 at the Saenger Theatre. Award-winning actor John O'Hurly will reprise the role of Billy Flynn in select cities. The season will also include The Phantom of the Opera (November 5-16), Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story on Stage (December 16-21), Mamma Mia! (January 13-18), Annie (February 3-8), Once (March 17-22) and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (April 14-19).
- Emeril Lagasse Foundation's fourth annual Boudin, Bourbon & Beer will take over Champions Square adjacent to the Superdome on November 7 to celebrate Louisiana culture. Proceeds from the event, co-chaired by Chefs Emeril Lagasse and Donald Link, will benefit the Emeril Lagasse Foundation.
- The 31st annual Halloween New Orleans will take place October 23-26. The event is the largest gay Halloween charity event in the country, benefitting HIV/AIDS victims through Project Lazarus. In 2013 the celebration drew its largest crowd since Hurricane Katrina.
- The Voodoo Music + Art Experience is returning to City Park Festival Ground to showcase national headliners and local acts on Halloween weekend. Headliners include Foo Fighters, Skrillex, Outkast and more. Festival-goers can opt to camp on the grounds to fully immerse in the experience.
- New Orleans offers a variety of Halloween experiences for kids, including the Boo Carré Halloween and Harvest Festival at the French Market on October 18, which will include miniature golf, a petting zoo, a spooky secondline and entertainment. Boo at the Zoo will offer trick-or-treating, a Ghost train, haunted houses and more at the Audubon Zoo on October 17-18 and October 24-25. The Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium will host Crawloween with a trick-or-treating for bug-themed candies, pumpkins that double as animal exhibits and other creepy crawly exhibits October 29-31.
- Bayou Segnette will host its annual Halloween Hayride and Haunted Swamp Trail on October 25. The campground will feature trick-or-treating from 6-9 p.m., a hayride shuttle and a Haunted Swamp Trail for daring little ghouls and goblins.
- The Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SoFAB) reopened in its new location at 1504 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard on September 29, 2014. The former Dryades Market has been converted into the home of the SoFAB, the award-winning, unique museum of culinary culture and history. The building includes the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Leah Chase Louisiana Gallery and the Gallery of the States, which features culinary exhibits about the South and District of Columbia.
- Satchmo SummerFest broke records by doubling attendance in two years to 57,000 festival-goers in 2014. Attendees immersed themselves in the culture, food and music of the city that bred Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong with two stages of contemporary and traditional jazz, lectures on jazz and its history at the U.S. Mint and a trumpet tribute to Satchmo himself August 1-3.
For a full list of festivals, click here.
MEETINGS AND CONVENTIONS
Meetings (3,000 or more in attendance) include:
- American Society of Anesthesiologists | Oct. 11-15
- American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene | Nov. 2-6
- National Association of REALTORS | Nov. 7-10
- International Jewelry Fair/General Merchandise Show | Nov. 6-9
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers | Nov. 16-21
- American Public Health Association | Nov. 15-19
For a full list of conventions, click here.
- New Orleans was named the Best Culinary Destination in the small domestic category by Saveur Magazine in August 2014, ranking ahead of cities like Charleston, Seattle and Portland.
- Louisiana was ranked the number one Best Business Climate in the USA by Business Facilities Magazine in August 2014. New Orleans ranked among the top ten cities for Economic Growth Potential in the USA, also receiving awards for the Fastest Growing Airport and the best Workforce Training in the nation.
- In July 2014, New Orleans was named one of the "World's Best Cities" by Travel + Leisure readers. One of only two US cities to make the list, New Orleans ranked second only to Charleston domestically, which was credited to its authenticity.
- New Orleans was named the fifth Friendliest City in the U.S. by Condé Nast Traveler readers in August 2014, ahead of other Southern cities Nashville and Fort Worth.
- In April 2014, Condé Nast Traveler readers voted New Orleans one of the "Best American Cities for Foodies." The publication gives credit to the ever-changing culinary scene, which ranges from the perfected beignets and gumbo to farm-to-table and experimental cuisine.
- HRI Lodging's newest property the Aloft New Orleans Downtown is scheduled to open in New Orleans' Central Business District in March 2015. The Aloft will offer 188 guest rooms, 2,500 square feet of meeting space, a bar and more. The hotel will accompany 192 apartments in the same building dubbed the Strand Apartments. Kristi Taglauer, formerly a manager of the Hilton Garden Inn French Quarter/CBD and the Hyatt French Quarter, will be the general manager.
- AC Hotel New Orleans Bourbon will debut with 220 European-style rooms in October 2014. Formerly the Cotton Exchange Hotel, the AC Hotel will bring contemporary luxury to the heart of downtown.
- New Orleans Hotel Collection's Hotel Le Marais was awarded the HolidayCheck "Quality Selection Award" in September 2014. The award is based on thousands of guest reviews on the European hotel review platform, and only 50 hotels worldwide received the award this year.
- The Omni Royal Orleans completed the installation of a dedicated Wi-Fi network and its OmniLink complimentary mobile meeting app to provide coverage and assistance to its 14,000 square feet of event space in August 2014.
- The Dauphine Orleans Hotel was named a Top 100 Southern Hospitality Hotel for Groups, determined by readers of Convention South Magazine in July 2014.
- Windsor Court Hotel was named one of Travel +Leisure's 500 World's Best Hotels, the only Louisiana hotel to make the list.
- The W Hotel on Poydras Street is currently operating as Hotel New Orleans Downtown until its debut as a Le Méridien Hotel in December 2014. The hotel is undergoing a $29 million renovation.
- The Sheraton New Orleans is undergoing a $5 million renovation that includes its George Rodrigue and Jack Robinson Galleries. This new renovation follows last year's $50 million renovation.
- The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, celebrates its founding 120 years ago and its historic restoration five years ago, with all events lasting through the end of 2014, including a salute to its 2009 restoration.
- Windsor Court Hotel is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2014. Windsor Court's history of hospitality began as the vision of James J. Coleman, Jr., a New Orleans entrepreneur and Anglophile. Coleman thought a location just north of the French Quarter was the very place to build a grand hotel inspired by England's Windsor Castle, complete with classic art and high tea.
- Loews New Orleans Hotel is celebrating a decade of hospitality in the Big Easy with a full year of events, deals and giving back to the community. Travelers can take advantage of several exclusive anniversary offers including discounted rates, complimentary in-room amenities, unique travel packages and more. Amidst the celebration, the hotel also plans to refresh the look of its rooms with new bedding, carpeting, window treatments and select furnishings.
- For the fourth consecutive year, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport has experienced an amazing increase in passenger volume and is the fastest growing airport in the U.S. According to the 2013 statistical summary, the airport moved 9,207,636 passengers in 2013, an 18 percent increase over the 7,787,373 passengers in 2009. The 7.1 percent increase in 2013 is credited in large part to the growth of the New Orleans region as a top flight destination for leisure, conventions and business. Today, the millions of passengers traveling from New Orleans can select one of twelve airlines presently operating on three concourses at the airport for their air travel needs. Spirit Airlines and Vacation Express are the newest airlines to begin service into New Orleans, and non-stop destinations added to the New Orleans line-up last year included Cancun, Mexico and Austin, Texas.
- Mayor Mitch Landrieu, along with the New Orleans Aviation Board and regional elected, business and tourism leaders, announced plans to build a new, state-of-the-art airport terminal on the north side of the current airport property. The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport serves as a gateway to millions of tourists and business travelers each year. Creating a new airport will continue New Orleans' success as a world-class destination, along with creating more than 13,000 jobs in construction.
Additional flights in 2014 include:
- Southwest Airlines (One new daily departure to Los Angeles, March 2014)
- Delta Airlines (One new daily departure to Los Angeles, March 2014)
- Southwest Airlines (One new daily departure to San Diego, April 2014)
- Vacation Express (One new weekly departure on Saturdays to Montego Bay, Jamaica, May 2014)
- Alaska Airlines (One new daily departure to Seattle, June 2014)
- Southwest Airlines (Twice new daily departures to Washington, D.C., August 2014)
- Spirit Airlines (One new daily departure to Houston and Ft. Lauderdale, August 2014)
- PEOPLExpress Airlines (Three weekly departures to Newport News/Williamsbrg, August 2014)
- Spirit Airlines (One new daily departure to Chicago and Detroit, beginning October 2014)
- Southwest Airlines (Thanksgiving departures to San Antonio, November 2014)
TOURISM INDUSTRY STATISTICS AT A GLANCE
- 2013: 9.28 million visitors | $6.47 billion (highest visitor spending in city's history)
- 2012: 9.01 million visitors | $6 billion
- 2011: 8.75 million visitors | $5.47 billion
- 2010: 8.3 million visitors | $5.3 billion
- 2009: 7.5 million visitors | $4.2 billion
- 2008: 7.6 million | $5.1 billion
- 2007: 7.1 million | $4.8 billion
- 2006: 3.7 million | $2.8 billion
- 2005: July-December: stats not available
- 2005: January-June: 5.3 million | $2.6 billion
- 2004: 10.1 million | $4.9 billion
- 2003: 8.5 million | $4.5 billion
- Taxes: $250-300 million in tax revenues ... more than any other business sector
- Economic impact of tourism: $6.47 billion
- Employment: Nearly 78,000
- Hotels: 277 and 37,844 hotel rooms in the Greater New Orleans Metropolitan Area
- Restaurants: 1,414 (www.nomenu.com)
- Airport: 17,869 average daily seats and 138 average daily departures serving 42 non-stop destinations
The New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau is a nationally accredited, 1,100-member destination marketing organization and the largest and most successful private economic development corporation in Louisiana. The CVB and its members influence thousands of decision-makers and millions of visitors to choose New Orleans through direct sales, marketing, public relations, branding and visitor services at our New Orleans headquarters and offices in Washington, D.C., Chicago and four foreign countries. Consistently recognized as one of the top five CVBs in the country, the New Orleans CVB celebrates its 54th anniversary in 2014.
For more information, please visit www.neworleanscvb.com, follow us on Twitter (@NewOrleans), ‘like' us on Facebook (New Orleans) and view images of New Orleans via our Instagram (New Orleans CVB).
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