What's New in New Orleans

What's New in New Orleans' Hospitality Industry


      • 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.
      • 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. 
      • Port of New Orleans cruise terminals welcomed more than one million passengers in 2014, setting a new record. The cruise industry supports more than 8,000 jobs in New Orleans and spends $406 million in Louisiana.
      • Prospect New Orleans has announced Trevor Schoonmaker as the artistic director of the upcoming Prospect.4 (P.4) exhibition, which will mark the exhibition's transition from a biennial to a triennial. Debuting in the fall of 2017, P.4 will coordinate its artistic efforts with the city of New Orleans' Tricentennial in 2018. Prospect.3 wrapped up in January 2015. 
      • 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. The hotel takes its name from the history of the building, which was once the E.J. Hart & Company chandlery that served the Port of New Orleans in the nineteenth century. 
      • 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. 
      • 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. 
      • 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.



      • Performances of Broadway in New Orleans' Annie will take place February 3-8 at the Saenger Theatre. The remainder of the season will include Once (March 17-22) and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (April 14-19). 
      • The Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival will kick off with an ambitious schedule from March 25-29, bringing five days of master classes, panelist discussions, celebrity interviews, competitions, theater events and more to New Orleans. Participants include John Waters, Saeed Jones, Amy Dickinson, Rick Bragg and many more. In 2015 the Saints and Sinners LGBT literary festival will merge with the Tennessee Williams Festival, celebrating the literary arts concurrently.
      • Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra's New Orleans Jazz Market opens in March 2015. 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 will return to New Orleans March 20-27, 2015 for Idea Village's 2015 Entrepreneur Season. This year's Entrepreneur Week provides for 87 percent more local founders to showcase their ideas than 2014's show and is expected to bring more than 10,000 attendees for three days of interactive seminars, energy and innovation summit and a crowd-sourced pitch event. The 2014 Entrepreneur Season brought $2.2 million in resources to 834 New Orleans-based startups. 
      • 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. 
      • New Orleans Fringe Festival, the annual celebration of theatrical arts, has announced that it will evolve into faux/real, a new venture that will celebrate performing arts, literature and food and drink over three weeks in November 2015. Started in 2008, New Orleans Fringe Festival brought more than 500 theater productions and 1,500 performances to thousands of audience members. 
      • 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.


                  RECENT EVENTS

      • The Bicentennial of the Battle of New Orleans took place January 8, 2015. In commemoration, a host of events occurred, including Wreath Laying Ceremonies, re-enactments, a 10K race, symposiums and more. The celebrations culminate in culminate in NOLA Navy Week April 20-27.
      • The Allstate Sugar Bowl Classic returned to New Orleans January 1, 2015 for its 80th game in the Crescent City. Ohio State University took home the title, beating out University of Alabama for a spot in the first ever College Football Playoff National Championship on January 12. Events included the Allstate Fan Fest, a free series of activities and performances in the Jax Brewery Parking lot, as well as the Fan Jam tailgate in Champions Square.
      • The National World War II Museum unveiled its newest expansion, Campaigns of Courage, on December 13, 2014. The 31,000-square-foot pavilion employs digital technology, personal stories and iconic artifacts to explore the experience of the average American fighting the war. Road to Berlin: European Theater Galleries is the first immersive exhibition in the space, and Road to Tokyo: Pacific Theater Galleries will follow in 2015.


                For a full list of festivals, click here.



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

      • UBM LLC. | Feb. 4-6
      • New Orleans Gift & Jewelry Show | Feb. 6-9
      • Halloween and Party Expo | Feb. 6-9
      • International Studies Association | Feb. 17-20
      • International Roofing Expo | Feb. 22-25

                For a full list of conventions, click here.


      • Explorica.com, a travel site for educators and students, named New Orleans one of the "Top 15 Destinations for 2015," celebrating new educational destinations. 
      • In December 2014, Lonely Planet named New Orleans one of its "Best in the U.S. 2015" destinations based on feedback from its U.S. staff, authors and contributors as well as the significance of the destination for that year. 
      • In December 2014, Rough Guides named New Orleans one of the "Top 10 Cities" to visit in 2015 for its renaissance in the decade since Hurricane Katrina. 
      • New Orleans was named the "Best U.S. City for Food" by Thrillist.com in December 2014. The ranking took into account the density and quality of food in cities across the United States. 
      • Destination Weddings & Honeymoons named New Orleans one of the top 20 "Best Wedding Destinations of 2015" in December 2014 based on local wedding customs, architecture, cuisine and the ease of the marriage process. 
      • New Orleans was named the "Friendliest Homeport" as a part of Porthole Cruise Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Awards in December 2014. Winners are determined by their commitment to service, quality and excellence.
      • ConventionSouth Magazine readers voted New Orleans the "Most Meetings Friendly" destination in December 2014. Readers selected for their favorite destinations on social media in October 2014.


      • The Aloft New Orleans Downtown has announced that Kristi Taglauer, formerly a manager of the Hilton Garden Inn French Quarter/CBD and the Hyatt French Quarter, will be the hotel's 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 former W Hotel on Poydras Street debuted as a Le Méridien Hotel in December 2014. After undergoing a $29 million renovation, the hotel reopened with new rooms, a reimagined lobby and new restaurant LMNO. 
      • 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.



      • Branson AirExpress will begin nonstop service to New Orleans from Cancun, Mexico and Branson, Missouri beginning May 6, 2015. These new destinations will mark a new record for Louis Armstrong International Airport, with a total of 45 nonstop routes from New Orleans. 
      • Allegiant Air has begun nonstop service to New Orleans from four destinations this week, allowing residents of Cincinnati, Columbus, Indianapolis and Orlando to experience New Orleans in time for Mardi Gras. 
      • Southwest Airlines will begin daily nonstop service to Oakland, California in June 2015. The low-cost air carrier will make summer travel easier for California residents who wish to take advantage of summer deals in New Orleans. 
      • 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 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:

      • 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) 
      • 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)


      • 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 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 celebrates its 55thanniversary in 2015.

      For more information, please visit www.neworleanscvb.com, follow us on Twitter (@NewOrleansCVB), ‘like' us on Facebook (New Orleans) and view images of New Orleans via our Instagram (@NewOrleansCVB).


      Media Contacts:
      Sarah Forman

      Kelley Pettus

      # # #