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.
      • The $65 million Linear Park Construction Project, a linear park along Convention Center Boulevard, has been approved as part of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center's District Development Project, a redevelopment of 47 acres of riverfront property. The Convention Center District Development Project also 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.
      • 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. 
      • The Old No. 77 Hotel and Chandlery opened April 30 in the Warehouse and Arts District of New Orleans, offering a "Kick It Off With a Kick Package" that includes a 25% discount on room rates and two celebratory glasses of Old New Orleans Rum's Gingeroo rum cocktail. Formerly the Ambassador Hotel, renovations have expanded the total room count to 167 and highlight rustic details. The hotel has partnered with New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA) to feature student artwork throughout the property. 
      • Chef Nina Compton will open her first restaurant, Compère Lapin, at the Old No. 77 Hotel and Chandlery in New Orleans in June 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 Louisiana Children's Museum has been announced as a 2015 recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation's highest museum and library honor given to institutions that address community needs. 
      • Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra have announced a partnership with the Apollo Theater in New York that will bring performances by independent artists from the Apollo's Music Café to the People's Health New Orleans Jazz Market beginning next season. The partnership aims to celebrate the origins of jazz while continuing innovation in the genre, including having Mayfield serve as the Apollo's Jazz Artist-in-Residence.




      • FestiGals has announced that Dayna Steel, a best-selling author and CEO of YourDailySuccessTip.com, will headline the festival's Empowerment Day on Friday, June 12. Attendees will hear from Steele as well as Irma Thomas, Peggy Scott Laborde, Poppy Tooker and Ann Tuennerman about overcoming obstacles along the road to success. The annual girls' getaway festival returns to New Orleans June 11-14.
      • The 29th annual French Market Creole Tomato Festival will return to the historic marketplace June 13-14, bringing with it live fresh produce from local farmers and music performances on three separate stages. Families can enjoy interactive craft booths, an air-conditioned baby and family stage, an outdoor playground and more.
      • 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.



      • The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival welcomed a record-breaking 460,000 attendees to the 2015 festival, a 25,000 person increase from 2014's attendance of 435,000. The festival encompassed seven days of local crafts, food and live performances by local and national acts, including Elton John, The Who, Jimmy Buffett, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, No Doubt and many more. 
      • The 32nd annual French Quarter Festival returned to the Vieux Carré for a rainy weekend April 9-12, 2015. More than 1,600 artists graced 23 stages, including Allen Toussaint, Rebirth Brass Band, Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Kermit Ruffins, Charmaine Neville, Irma Thomas and many more. The festival brought 386,000 festival-goers to the historic neighborhood for the largest free music festival in America. 
      • The Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana, the premier American-based open-wheel racing series, debuted in the New Orleans area April 12, 2015 at NOLA Motorsports Park's 2.75-mile road course. The series brought a weekend of races, local cuisine and live music to the park, located 14 miles southwest of downtown New Orleans. The Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana will return to the park in 2016.
      • NOLA Navy Week returned 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 were open for public viewing, and activities included 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. 
      • 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.


                  For a full list of festivals, click here.


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

        • American Association of Immunologists (AAI) | May 8-11
        • American Urological Association | May 15-19
        • International Jewelry Fair/General Merchandise Show | May 15-18
        • American Society of Military Comptrollers | May 25-29

                  For a full list of conventions, click here.



        • Readers of Condé Nast Traveler voted New Orleans the number one "U.S. City for Business Travelers" in the February issue of the magazine based on friendliness, value, walkability and its 1,400 restaurants.
        • New Orleans was named one of the "Friendliest Cities in America" in Travel + Leisure's April issue for its friendly nightlife, vivid people-watching and quirky locals. 
        • Travel + Leisure named New Orleans one of "America's Best Cities for Sweet Tooths," in its April issue based on its many unique sweet treats, from Bananas Foster to Baked Alaska.
        • New Orleans was named one of the "America's Best Cities for Music Scenes" in Travel + Leisure's April issue based on the accessibility of and passion for a variety of music styles .
        • Men's Journal magazine 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 the "Top Vacation Spots in the U.S." by ListsForAll.com in March 2015 for its lively nightlife, unique cuisine and charm.
        • New Orleans was named the number one "Best Drinking City in America" by Thrillist.com in March 2015 for its superior cocktail culture, a hearty craft brewing scene and the invention of many classic cocktails. 
        • 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. 
        • 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" in its March issue based on its celebratory culture and history of voodoo.


        HOTEL NEWS

        • The Aloft New Orleans Downtown, HRI Lodging's newest property, opened in New Orleans' Central Business District in March 2015. The Aloft offers 188 guest rooms, 2,500 square feet of meeting space, a bar and more. The hotel accompanies 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.



        • 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.
        • 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.



        • 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. 
        • 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. 
        • Silver Airways will begin twice daily service to Birmingham, Alabama and daily service to Pensacola, Florida from New Orleans beginning June 16, 2015. 
        • 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. 
        • 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. 
        • 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.



        • 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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