It's a New Day in New Orleans: New Governor, Recent Tourism Victories Signal an Optimistic Future
Today as 36-year old Rhodes Scholar Bobby Jindal is inaugurated as Louisiana Governor, New Orleans tourism officials are looking to the new year with optimism, fueled by his new leadership, recent tourism victories such as three college bowl games, and a lineup of major conventions, festivals and sporting events that will pump millions of dollars into the local economy in 2008.
The first Indian American to serve as Louisiana Governor, Jindal is known for his role as secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, where he turned a $400 million budget deficit into a surplus of $220 million. He has served as a U.S. Congressman, executive director of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare, and president of the University of Louisiana System. He plans to create a fresh start for Louisiana in ethics, education, economic infrastructure and healthcare.
Tourism officials such as J. Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, are confident that the fresh new leadership will strengthen the city's reputation and stimulate convention business. According to Perry, “Governor Jindal's fresh, new leadership and ethics reform will translate into a completely reformulated reputation for the city and the state, and a renewed environment where corporations will want to bring business."
Perry continued, “We cannot underestimate the power that Governor Jindal will have on New Orleans' vital tourism industry. We truly feel that it's a new day … we have a new Governor that will be a strong salesperson for New Orleans tourism; we had a successful fall 2007 with consecutive citywide meetings; three recent bowl games with thousands of people went off without a hitch; cultural celebrations are booming; and we are continuing to prove everyday why New Orleans remains one of the best destinations for business or leisure."
— The Allstate BCS National Championship was held January 7, 2008, where
the Louisiana State University Tigers defeated the Ohio State
University Buckeyes before a Sugar Bowl/Superdome record crowd of
79,651. Economic impact was $250 million.
— The Allstate Sugar Bowl was held January 1, 2008 featuring the
University of Georgia Bulldogs and the University of Hawaii Warriors.
Approximately 74,383 people attended the game, with thousands more
visiting the city, and an economic impact of $150 million.
— The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport set two post-
Katrina travel records during the bowl games. More than 19,000
passengers flew out of the airport Tuesday following the BCS
Championship game, making it the airport's busiest travel day since
August 2005. On the day following the Sugar Bowl, the airport had
nearly 18,000 passengers, making it the second-busiest day.
— The R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl was played on Dec. 21, 2007 with a
$20 million economic impact.
— The city welcomed approximately 6 million visitors in 2007, up from
3.7 million in 2006 and much closer to its pre-Katrina norm of
8 million visitors per year.
— Mardi Gras festivities will begin January 25, 2008 and conclude on Fat
Tuesday, February 5, 2008.
— On February 17, 2008, New Orleans will host the 57th NBA All Star Game,
with a projected economic impact of $80-90 million.
— The 25th annual French Quarter Fest, a free celebration of food and
music will be held April 11 - 13, 2008. Attendance at the 2007 French
Quarter Fest increased over 2006, (425,000 up from 350,000), and on
April 15, the Fest set a single-day attendance record with 208,000
— The 2008 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, presented by Shell,
April 25-27 and May 1-4 will welcome back the Neville Brothers and the
return of the event's second Thursday, which expands the run to its
former length of seven days.
— The American Heart Association (AHA)/American Stroke Association (ASA)
has re-confirmed New Orleans as the destination for two major
conferences in 2008. The American Stroke Association, a division of
AHA, will hold the International Stroke Conference February 20-22,
2008, with total attendance expected to be 5,500. AHA's Annual
Scientific Sessions will be in New Orleans, November 9-12, 2008, with
an approximate attendance of 27,500.
— Other major conventions in 2008 include the Pittsburgh Conference &
Expo, Mar. 1-6 with 24,000 attendees; the American Chemical Society,
April 6-9 with 14,000; and The National Cable & Telecommunications
Association, May 17-20 with 17,000 attendees.
— Ron Forman, CEO of the Audubon Nature Institute, has taken the helm as
2008 Chairman of the Board of the New Orleans Convention & Visitors
— There are more restaurants open in New Orleans today than ever (881),
the French Quarter is cleaner than it has been in decades, and many of
the city's 32,000 hotel rooms have been renovated recently.
Consistently recognized as one of the top five convention and visitor bureaus in the United States, The New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau is the driving force behind New Orleans' most important industry, tourism.
Today the cultural riches, sensual indulgences and unparalleled service that define the New Orleans experience continue to flourish, as they have for centuries. The most celebrated and historic core of the city — including the French Quarter, Central Business District, Warehouse and Arts District, Magazine Street, the Faubourg Marigny and Garden District — are thriving. In 2007 New Orleans welcomed 6 million visitors. For more information, visit www.neworleanscvb.com/
New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau,
Phone: 504-421-0962 (cell),
Mary Beth Romig,
Phone: 504-606-8430 (cell),