What's New in New Orleans' Hospitality Industry
- Christmas New Orleans Style kicked off November 20, spreading holiday joy around the Big Easy through December. The campaign features hotel deals, traditional New Orleans Reveillon dinners, and 77 holiday events. New this year, the Reveillon on the Rocks program features holiday cocktails at more than 30 locations across the city. Additionally, Christmas in the District's Nola ChristmasFest will debut at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, bringing an interactive holiday experience including concerts, light displays, Santa's Playland for children and more to the city December 12-24.
- The Port of New Orleans was named the "Best North American Homeport" by Cruise Critic Magazine in November as part of their 2014 U.S. Editors' Picks. Cruise Critic Magazine is host to the largest cruise community in the world and cited New Orleans' efficiency and convenience as factors for the win.
- The Port of New Orleans and Norwegian Cruise Line have signed a new four-year berthing agreement, securing at least one Norwegian cruise ship sailing from New Orleans through 2018. The agreement follows the Norwegian Dawn's maiden voyage from New Orleans on November 21, 2014.
- The National World War II Museum will unveil its newest expansion, Campaigns of Courage, on December 13, 2014. The 31,000-square-foot pavilion 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 will be the first immersive exhibition in the space, and Road to Tokyo: Pacific Theater Galleries will follow in 2015.
- Iconic New Orleans restaurant Brennan's has reopened on Royal Street. After transferring ownership to Ralph Brennan and Terry White, the restaurant underwent a $20 million renovation and has a new executive chef, Slade Rushing.
- 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 debuted with 220 European-style rooms in October 2014. Formerly the Cotton Exchange Hotel, the AC Hotel brings contemporary luxury to the heart of downtown. This is the first AC Hotel, part of Marriott's European portfolio, to open in the U.S.
- 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 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 8, 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 and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra's New Orleans Jazz Market is under construction. 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 debuted 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.
- The Downtown Development District will be installing Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant curb ramps at 40 intersections in the Central Business. Construction began in November and will continue through February 2015.
- Prospect.3, the International Contemporary Art Triennial, has begun its third installment "Prospect.3: Notes for Now." Exhibits opened October 25, 2014 and run 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 were commissioned to create site-specific works for Prospect.3, and the event includes a focus on diversity, featuring a high percentage of African-American and Gulf region artists.
- The Allstate Sugar Bowl Classic will return to New Orleans January 1, 2015 for its 80th game in the Crescent City, with The University of Alabama and Ohio State University facing off at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Events kick off December 30-31 with the Allstate Fan Fest, a free series of activities and performances in the Jax Brewery Parking lot. Festivities continue with the Fan Jam tailgate in Champions Square three hours before kickoff, which includes fun and family-friendly performers for fans until the game begins.
- Prepare to burn off your holiday indulgences this January with the annual Rock ‘n' Roll Marathon. The event begins with a free Health and Fitness Expo in the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center January 23-24. On January 25, the Rock ‘n' Roll New Orleans Marathon, Half Marathon and Two-Person Half Marathon Relay will take off at the intersection of Poydras and Camp Street. The race will feature live music at every mile and will end with a Finish Line Festival at City Park's Roosevelt Mall, including performances by Trombone Shorty and KONGOS.
- 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.
- Performances of Broadway in New Orleans' Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story on Stage will take place December 16-21 at the Saenger Theatre. The remainder of the season will include Mamma Mia! (January 13-18), Annie (February 3-8), Once (March 17-22) and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (April 14-19).
- WWE recently announced the economic impact of their April event WrestleMania 30, which brought a record-breaking $142.2 million to New Orleans as well as more than $20 million in taxes during its week of events in April 2014. The event brought fans from all 50 states and 36 countries to experience the WrestleMania Axxess sessions at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and the titular WrestleMania event at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
- The inaugural World War II AirPower Expo, presented by The National WWII Museum and the Commemorative Air Force, welcomed more than 10,000 visitors to experience WWII history hands-on at the New Orleans Lakefront Airport October 24-26. The event featured air shows, ride-along-flights, meet-and-greets with pilots and veterans, WWII vehicles and more.
- The Voodoo Music + Art Experience returned to City Park Festival Ground to showcase national headliners and local acts on Halloween weekend. Headliners included Foo Fighters, Skrillex, Outkast and more.
- 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.
For a full list of festivals, click here.
MEETINGS AND CONVENTIONS
Meetings (3,000 or more in attendance) include:
- Barbershop Harmony Society | Jan. 7-10
- Wizard World New Orleans Comic Con | Jan. 9-10
- National Tour Association and United Motorcoach Association | Jan. 17-23
- Competitor Group Inc. | Jan. 23-24
- VMware, Inc. | Jan. 27-30
For a full list of conventions, click here.
- GOOD Magazine named New Orleans one of the top ten "Most Inspiring Cities in the World" in November 2014 based civic engagement, connectivity, street life, a work/life balance, diversity and other criteria. New Orleans was the number one U.S. city on the list.
- In October 2014 Travel + Leisure readers voted New Orleans a top destination in a number of categories on the annual America's Favorite Cities list, including "Festivals," "Notable Restaurants," "Architecture" and more.
- Condé Nast Traveler named New Orleans one of the Top 25 Cities in the World in October 2014. New Orleans ranked ahead of San Francisco and Chicago and was one of only five U.S. cities to make the list.
- Men's Health Magazine named New Orleans the seventh Friendliest City in America in September 2014.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Windsor Court Hotel was named an All-Star Hotel in Conde Nast Traveler's 2014 Readers' Choice Awards, the only Louisiana hotel to make the list. Only five other U.S. hotels were named. The hotel was named one of Travel +Leisure's 500 World's Best Hotels in July 2014.
- The Bourbon Orleans Hotel was awarded a Reader's Choice Award by ConventionSouth Magazine in November 2014. Readers of the magazine voted for their top locations for meetings and conventions based on a high standard professionalism and quality of service.
- 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 Dauphine Orleans Hotel was named a Top 100 Southern Hospitality Hotel for Groups, determined by readers of Convention South Magazine in July 2014.
- 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.
- Allegiant Air will begin nonstop service to New Orleans from four destinations in February 2015, allowing residents of Cincinnati, Columbus, Indianapolis and Orlando to experience New Orleans in time for Mardi Gras.
- Vacation Express will start new non-stop seasonal service from New Orleans to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic weekly from May 14 - August 6, 2015. Additionally, Vacation Express will resume seasonal non-stop departures to Cancun, Mexico from May 14 - August 6, 2015.
- According to a study commissioned by the New Orleans Aviation Board, Louis Armstrong International Airport contributed more than $5.3 billion in economic impact and sustained more than 53,300 jobs in Greater New Orleans in 2013. The airport's economic impact is projected to grow to more than $6.3 billion with 64,400 jobs with the completion of the new terminal in 2018.
- 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/Williamsburg, August 2014)
- Spirit Airlines (One new daily departure to Chicago and Detroit, beginning October 2014)
- Southwest Airlines (Thanksgiving departures to San Antonio, November 2014)
- Allegiant Air (Nonstop departures to Cincinnati, Columbus, Indianapolis and Orlando beginning February 2015)
- Vacation Express (One new weekly departure to Punta Cana March-August 2015, Multiple weekly departures to Cancun March-August 2015)
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: 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: 17,455 average daily seats and 135 average daily departures serving 44 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).
# # #