What's New in New Orleans' Hospitality Industry
- Copa Airlines, the largest Latin American air carrier, has begun new nonstop service between New Orleans and Panama, enhancing connectivity to more than 55 South American destinations. New Orleans has long held ties to Latin America with Afro-Caribbean heritage and shared trade routes, especially in the banana trade. New Orleans is Copa's 11th destination in the United States and 71st destination overall. Flights will depart four times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
- The tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is August 29, 2015 and New Orleans will commemorate with a series of events, including wreath laying ceremonies, a conference, prayer services and more. A decade after the storm, New Orleans has showed continued resilience with new industries, hotels, restaurants and more. For more information on events as well as data on the city's recovery, visit katrina10.org.
- Louisiana was the first state to offer sales tax refunds to international visitors, and tourists are taking advantage of the rebates. Louisiana Tax Free Shopping for International Visitors experienced record growth in 2014, with increases in the number of transactions and the number of stores registering transactions. International visitors cite tax free shopping as a deciding factor in choosing to visit Louisiana, and the tax free shopping program has been proven to return $1.7 for every $1 refunded to the state.
UPCOMING EVENTS AND DEVELOPMENTS
- The world's premier cocktail festival Tales of the Cocktail will bring a week of spirited events to New Orleans July 13-20, including seminars and learning opportunities for mixologists and bartenders from around the world. Don't miss this year's keynote by renowned hospitality master Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group and author of New York Times best-seller Setting the Table. New this year is a restaurant week that builds on the popular Spirited Dinners, Meet the Makers opportunities to purchase local spirited products and a Freret Street block party. More than 18,000 attendees flocked to New Orleans for last year's festival, with an economic impact of $12.8 million.
- Satchmo SummerFest will celebrate its 15th anniversary and the 115th Birthday of Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong at Louisiana State Museum's Old U.S. Mint July 30-August 2. This local favorite festival will feature jazz performances by Ellis Marsalis, Kermit Ruffins, Preservation Hall Brass Band and many more in addition to seminars, dance lessons, second lines and a Jazz Mass. This year's festival includes a never-before-seen exhibition of Louis Armstrong's first cornet and last trumpet side-by-side as well as his private music, letters and more via a partnership with the Louis Armstrong House Museum in New York City.
- Enjoy summer specials at more than 50 award-winning restaurants across the city with COOLinary Restaurant Month this August. Featuring two-three course lunch menus for $20 or less and three course dinner menus at $39 or less, the culinary month allows visitors and locals alike to experience some of New Orleans' finest cuisine at affordable price points. New to the program this year are brunch menus, with three course meals at $39 or less. Participating restaurants include Antoine's, Galatoire's, GW Fins, Arnaud's and many more.
- August in New Orleans will bring New Orleans Museum Month, offering members of participating museums access to other participating institutions free of charge. Visitors and locals can take advantage of some of New Orleans' greatest cultural institutions, such as New Orleans Museum of Art, The National World War II Museum, The Historic New Orleans Collection and many more.
- The Major League Gaming World Finals will head to New Orleans this October, bringing the world's best gamers to the city for a weekend of competition. Major League Gaming is the longest running eSports league in the world with over 50,000 live event competitors to date, and this year's World Finals, often called the "Super Bowl of gaming," will be the league's 100th live event.
UPCOMING EVENTS AND FESTIVALS
For a full list of festivals, click here.
MEETINGS AND CONVENTIONS
Meetings (3,000 or more in attendance) include:
- Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International | July 14-16
- MechaCon | July 25-31
- Gospel Music Workshop of America | July 25-31
- Louisiana Restaurant Association LA Foodservice Expo | July 31-Aug. 2
For a full list of conventions, click here.
- The Old No. 77 Hotel and Chandlery opened in April in the Warehouse and Arts District of New Orleans. Formerly the Ambassador Hotel, renovations have expanded the total room count to 167 and highlight rustic details like exposed brick walls and hardwood floors. The hotel has partnered with New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA) to feature student artwork in every room as well as in a lobby gallery, with works available for purchase. The hotel has also partnered with Old New Orleans Rum to include locally-distilled rum in every room.
- The Aloft New Orleans Downtown, HRI Lodging's newest property, opened in New Orleans' Central Business District in March 2015 with 188 guest rooms, 2,500 square feet of meeting space and cocktail bar. Starwood's Aloft brand spans fourteen countries and is known for its popularity among young tech travelers. The hotel offers a mobile keyless entry system to rooms that allows guests to use their smart phones as keys. The Aloft accompanies 192 apartments in the same building dubbed the Strand Apartments.
- Homewood Suites by Hilton New Orleans Downtown has completed its renovation of the hotel's 166 suites, meeting spaces and public areas. The hotel features refreshed décor as well as new furniture, the addition of a sleeper sofa and stainless steel appliances in each guest rooms.
- Top Chef: New Orleans contender Chef Nina Compton opened her first restaurant Compère Lapin at Old No. 77 Hotel and Chandlery in June with cuisine that melds the flavors of her Caribbean upbringing and love for French and Italian cuisine. The St. Lucia trained in French tradition at the Culinary Institute of America in New York and takes inspiration from her favorite childhood folktales.
- The historic Napoleon House, owned and operated by the Impastato family since 1914, has been purchased by local restaurateur Ralph Brennan. The building's first occupant Nicholas Girod was mayor of New Orleans and offered his residence as refuge to the Emperor Napoleon in 1821, and, though the emperor never accepted the offer, the name stuck. The restaurant will be managed with a light hand to maintain the historic ambience that has made it one of the most famous restaurant and bar in America.
- Louis Armstrong International Airport is the fastest growing airport in the U.S. and has experienced an incredible increase in passenger volume for the fifth consecutive year. The airport has surpassed pre-Hurricane Katrina passenger numbers, serving 9,785,394 passengers in 2014 and surpassing the 2004 total of 9,733,178 passengers. The 6.3 percent increase in 2014 is credited in large part to the growth of the New Orleans region as a top flight destination for leisure, conventions and business. With 15 airlines providing service to 48 nonstop destinations, the airport is serving the most nonstop destinations in its history.
- 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.
Recently Announced Flights:
- Vacation Express (One new weekly departure to Punta Cana March-August 2015, Multiple weekly departures to Cancun March-August 2015)
- Branson AirExpress (Three new nonstop departures to Cancun, Mexico and Branson, Missouri beginning May 6, 2015)
- Southwest Airlines (One new daily departure to Oakland, California, June 2015)
- Copa Airlines (One new nonstop departure to Panama four times weekly June 24, 2015)
- United Airlines (One new weekly nonstop departure to Cancun, Mexico May 9-September 5, 2015)
- Silver Airways (Two new daily nonstop departures to Birmingham, Alabama and one new daily nonstop departure to Pensacola, Florida beginning June 16, 2015)
- New Orleans will be the homeport for Viking River Cruises' first North American River Cruise. The European cruise giant will begin cruising the Mississippi River from New Orleans in 2017 with six new American-made vessels.
- American Cruise Lines is expanding its offering of river cruises from New Orleans with a second riverboat to be home-ported in New Orleans. The 150-passenger American Eagle will embark on its maiden voyage on April 11, 2015 and will offer eight-day itineraries between New Orleans and Memphis.
- Carnival Cruise Line will expand its cruising capacity in New Orleans, replacing the Carnival Triumph with the Carnival Elation in April 2016. The Carnival Triumph and the Carnival Dream are expected to carry a combined 450,000 guests from New Orleans annually, the most of any cruise line.
- The American Queen Steamboat is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2015 with performances, history presentations, portside ceremonies, cruise gifts and special discounts on cruise rates.
TOURISM INDUSTRY STATISTICS AT A GLANCE
- 2014: 9.52 million visitors | $6.81 billion (highest visitor spending in city's history)
- 2013: 9.28 million visitors | $6.47 billion
- 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: $6.81 billion
- Employment: More than 80,000
- Hotels: 277 and 37,844 hotel rooms in the Greater New Orleans Metropolitan Area
- Restaurants: 1,407 (www.nomenu.com)
- Airport: 18,451 average daily seats and 143 average daily departures serving 48 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 celebrated its 55th anniversary in 2015.
For more information, please visit www.neworleanscvb.com, follow us on Twitter (@NewOrleansCVB), ‘like' us on Facebook (New Orleans).
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