What's New in New Orleans

What's New in New Orleans' Hospitality Industry


      • The city of New Orleans welcomed 9.52 million visitors in 2014 who spent a record-breaking $6.81 billion, according to a University of New Orleans Hospitality Research Center Study commissioned by the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau and New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC). The spending is the highest in the city's history.
      • The state of Louisiana welcomed a record-breaking 28.7 million visitors in 2014, a five percent increase from 27.3 million visitors in 2013. Tourists spent more than $11.2 billion in the state in 2014, up from $10 billion in 2013. The tourism and hospitality industry is the fastest-growing job sector in the state, employing more 223,000 Louisianians. 
      • A new study by the motion picture industry revealed that one in every seven visitors to Louisiana traveled to the state because of a film or television show, showing a direct correlation between film production and visitation. Louisiana's tax credit program supports more than 33,000 jobs and generates $1.2 billion in personal income. 
      • Louis Armstrong International Airport is among the most affordable airports in the nation for both inbound and outbound flights according to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. New Orleans ranked in the fourth quartile of average air fares at number 79, with average airfare of $360. 
      • Chef Nina Compton will open her first restaurant at the Old No. 77 Hotel and Chandlery in New Orleans in summer 2015. The rising star chef fell in love with New Orleans during the filming of Top Chef Season 11 and will partner with Provenance Hotels' newest venture in the Warehouse District. The name of the restaurant has not yet been announced.
      • FestiGals has announced the "Bodacious Bra Challenge" as a new fundraising initiative for the annual women's festival, inviting participants to decorate and bedazzle bras. The top three bra designs will be auctioned for charity on at the Bodacious Bras for a Cause Luncheon on June 13, 2015. The Bodacious Bras for a Cause Luncheon, which has generated more than $55,000 for women in need, will be keynoted by best-selling author Christine Clifford.
      • Camp Restore welcomed its 25,000th post-Katrina volunteer to New Orleans in March with a celebration for the 150 volunteers after their day of service in the city. The New Orleans faith-based volunteer program coordinates home restoration efforts and connects volunteers with more than 80 local nonprofits, churches and schools. Camp Restore has contributed more than one million volunteer hours to the Greater New Orleans area since 2006. 
      • Broussard's Restaurant is celebrating 95 years of fine dining in the Crescent City with a new dinner menu and special degustation menu by Executive Chef Neal Swidler. The historic restaurant opened in the French Quarter in 1920.
      • Audubon Zoo debuted the Gator Run Lazy River as part of its Cool Zoo splash park, allowing zoo visitors to float their way around exhibits in the heat of summer. The 750 foot river includes two sand beaches, water cannons, concessions and more.




      • The 32nd annual French Quarter Festival will return to the Vieux Carré April 9-12, 2015. More than 1,600 artists will grace the stages, including Allen Toussaint, Rebirth Brass Band, Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Kermit Ruffins, Charmaine Neville, Irma Thomas and many more. Two new stages have been added to the festival at the Omni New Orleans Riverfront and Spanish Plaza at the Outlet Collection at Riverwalk for a total of 23 stages.
      • The Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana, 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. 
      • NOLA Navy Week will return to the Downtown New Orleans riverfront April 23-29, bringing a Navy fleet and sailors from around the world to the port city. Visiting ships will be open for public viewing, and other activities will include official visits among regional dignitaries and Navy leadership, visiting sailors engaged in friendly sporting competitions, a seafood cook-off and regional outreach and community service projects by visiting sailors. 
      • New Orleans Airlift and the Helis Foundation have announced a new Music Box Series, bringing interactive and kinetic musical structures as well as performances, artist talks, educational workshops and free interactive hours to the city of New Orleans during 2015. The first residency will be "The Music Box Roving Village" in City Park April 3-May 10 with orchestral performances by local and national musicians in the musical houses
      • Broadway in New Orleans presented by East Jefferson General Hospital has announced its 2015-2016 season at the Saenger Theatre. The full season will include: Disney's The Little Mermaid (September 15-20); Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (October 27-November 1), Disney's Newsies (December 1-6), Motown the Musical (January 19-24, 2016), Kinky Boots (February 16-21, 2016), The Book of Mormon (March 8-13, 2016), and Cabaret (April 5-10, 2016). In addition to the regular theater season, Broadway in New Orleans will present Disney's Beauty and the Beast (December 29-January 3, 2016) and Wicked (May 25-June 19-, 2016). 
      • The Orpheum Theater, a historic vertical theater in the heart of New Orleans Theater District, is currently undergoing a $13 million renovation and is slated to reopen in the fall of 2015. Originally opened in 1921, the Orpheum has over 1,500 seats, each offering an intimate experience with perfect sight lines and unparalleled acoustics. 
      • 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 New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (NORTA) has broken ground on its 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 People's Health New Orleans Jazz Market held its ribbon-cutting April 2. 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.
      • New Orleans Entrepreneur Week returned to New Orleans March 20-27, 2015 to kick off Idea Village's 2015 Entrepreneur Season. This year's Entrepreneur Week showcased 121 innovative entrepreneurial ventures, 81 percent of which were new to the event. The event's attendance doubled to 10,585 participants across the week of interactive seminars. 
      • The Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival took over New Orleans March 25-29, bringing five days of master classes, panelist discussions, celebrity interviews, competitions, theater events and more to New Orleans. Participants included John Waters, Saeed Jones, Amy Dickinson, Rick Bragg and many more. In 2015 the Saints and Sinners LGBT literary festival merged with the Tennessee Williams Festival, celebrating the literary arts concurrently.


                For a full list of festivals, click here.


      Meetings (3,000 or more in attendance) include:

      • New Orleans Dental Conference| Apr. 7-9
      • Ellucian Live | Apr. 11-15
      • North American Tire and Retread Expo | Apr. 14-17
      • Workboat Maintenance & Repair Conference & Expo | Apr. 14-16
      • New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival | Apr. 24-May 5
      • Bose Corporation | Apr. 27-30

                For a full list of conventions, click here.



      • SmartAsset.com, an online financial planning tool, named New Orleans one of the "Most Interesting Cities in America" based on diversity, concentration of bars, population growth and the ratio of creatives to professionals.
      • Men's Journal named New Orleans one of the "10 Best Places to Live Now" in its April issue for its post-Katrina renaissance and generous hospitality.
      • New Orleans was named one of "America's Best Cities for Food Snobs" in Travel + Leisure's March issue for both its fine dining and casual culinary culture. 
      • Travel + Leisure named New Orleans the number one "Quirkiest City in America" based on its celebratory culture and history of voodoo.
      • Readers of Condé Nast Traveler voted New Orleans the number one "U.S. City for Business Travelers" based on friendliness, value, walkability and its 1,400 restaurants.
      • New Orleans CVB President and CEO Stephen Perry has been named one of New Orleans CityBusiness' "Driving Forces" of the New Orleans business scene based on achievements since Hurricane Katrina. 
      • In January 2015, The New York Times named New Orleans one of its "52 Places to Go in 2015," which proposes untraveled destinations as well as familiar cities offering travelers new reasons to visit this year. 



      • The Aloft New Orleans Downtown, HRI Lodging's newest property, 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.
      • The Wyndham New Orleans-French Quarter has completed its multi-million dollar renovation, which included 374 guest rooms as well as the building's exterior and improvements to the parking garage. 
      • The Old No. 77 Hotel and Chandlery will open spring 2015 in the Warehouse District. Formerly the Ambassador Hotel, renovations are expanding the total room count to 167 and will highlight rustic details like exposed brick walls and hardwood floors. Old No. 77 has partnered with New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA) to feature student artwork throughout the property and provide a copy of Umbra, NOCCA's creative writing publication, in each guestroom to inform and enhance guests' experience of New Orleans. 



      • Antoine's Restaurant is celebrating 175 years of French Creole culinary traditions in 2015. In commemoration of this prestigious anniversary, the oldest continuously operating restaurant in America and birthplace of Oysters Rockefeller will host special events, present new menus and bring its celebrations beyond the French Quarter.
      • Emeril's New Orleans, the original flagship of Chef Emeril Lagasse, is celebrating 25 years in the Crescent City in 2015. The restaurant will host a variety of events to commemorate the anniversary, including special "Throwback Menus" and a trio of dinners.
      • The newly renovated Desire Oyster Bar at the Royal Sonesta New Orleans Hotel has reopened with a new menu crafted by Executive Chef Corey Jacobs. The restaurant will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.



      • Copa Airlines and Louis Armstrong International Airport have announced a new nonstop flight between New Orleans and Panama beginning June 24, 2015. The flight will offer the only direct airline service between the two cities and will run four times weekly, offering easier access to the U.S. for South American travelers.
      • United Airlines will begin seasonal nonstop service to Cancun, Mexico from New Orleans on May 9, 2015. The weekly flight will depart on Saturdays through September 5, 2015.
      • Louis Armstrong International Airport has surpassed pre-Katrina passenger numbers, serving 9,785,394 passengers in 2014 and surpassing the 2004 total of 9,733,178 passengers. With 14 airlines providing service to 46 nonstop destinations, the airport is serving the most nonstop destinations in its history. 
      • 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 fifth 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 2014 statistical summary, the airport moved 9,785,394 passengers in 2014, surpassing pre-Katrina numbers of 9,733,178 in 2004 for the first time. 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. Today, the millions of passengers traveling from New Orleans can select one of fourteen airlines presently operating on three concourses at the airport for their air travel needs. 
      • 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)



      • 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.



      • 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: $6.47 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: 19,405 average daily seats and 147 average daily departures serving 46 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).


      Media Contacts:
      Sarah Forman

      Kelley Pettus

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