Good News!

Two recent events highlight success and future growth for the industry

The recent media flurry surrounding the 10-year commemoration of the storm-that-shall-not-be-named (yet again) has brought some introspective meetings within the New Orleans tourism industry.

On August 21, Rep. Cedric Richmond (LA-02) participated in a roundtable discussion with local leaders. They focused on the crucial role the travel industry has in economic recovery and also the policy matters impacting thousands of area businesses and jobs.

“The tourism industry is an essential part of the Louisiana economy,” says Rep. Richmond. “Millions of people visit Louisiana every year to experience our rich culture and inject billions of dollars in revenue into the region.”

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Richmond pointed to diversity as a critical factor and says, “It is important that we continue to discuss how to help small businesses and those who lack economic opportunity to share in the tourism industry’s growth. Bringing in a range of diverse stakeholders not only strengthens the industry, but bolsters our entire community.”

Rep. Richmond was joined by Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, as well as additional roundtable guests including:  Don Allee, Port of New Orleans; CJ Blache, Rodel Parsons; Mavis Early, Hotel and Lodging Association; Bob Johnson, Convention Center; Jonah Langenbeck, National WWII Museum; Toni Rice, MultiCultural Tourism Network; Melvin Rodrigue, Galatoire’s Restaurant; Cheryl Teamer, New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau; and Stephen Watson, National WWII Museum.

A week later on August 28, another meeting occurred in the format of a panel discussion as part of the K10 commemoration. It was moderated by New Orleans Tourism Marketing President and CEO Mark Romig and focused on how the tourism industry shaped the recovery of New Orleans after the storm, and also looked to the future growth of New Orleans’ as a tourism destination.

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Panel members were identified as being pivotal leaders in restoring New Orleans tourism and cultural events. They included the previously mentioned Perry and Rice, along with Jay Cicero of Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation and Doug Thornton of SMG.

In the 10 years since the storm, the city has hosted the 2013 Super Bowl, 2014 NBA All Star Weekend, the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Final Four, Wrestlemania XXX, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and ESSENCE Festival, among others – demonstrating the resilience of the city and the 80,000 workers employed by the tourism industry.

The tourism and hospitality industry, which welcomed 9.52 million visitors in 2014, remains the city’s largest economic driver supporting nearly one-third of the city’s operating budget.

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