Published on : Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Mayor Mitch Landrieu noted the tremendous success of the cultural economy and tourism sectors in 2013 as the city hosted world-class events, received global tourism accolades, attracted major film projects and made significant updates to municipal operations to improve the permitting process for event operators.
In the first half of 2013, New Orleans’ tourism industry boasted over 5 million visitors with an estimated $3.74 billion in visitor spending. Visitation in 2013 was 2% more than the same period in 2012, according to data from the UNO Hospitality Research Center, and tourism officials expect numbers for the second half of 2013 to be strong.
The city hosted over 400 festivals, events, parades and markets this year.
“New Orleans is one of the best places in the world to live, visit, and conduct business. Our economy will continue to grow because we have made it our business to create opportunities for our cultural economy to thrive alongside the efforts to attract new visitors and world class events,” said Mayor Landrieu, noting the Administration’s work in 2013 to ease the permitting process, create workforce development opportunities and partner with cultural entities in 2013.
At the start of 2013, New Orleans hosted Super Bowl XLVII external link bringing more than $480 million dollars in economic impact, community service projects and international publicity to the city. According to a study by University of New Orleans, the planning and administration of the game created and supported 5,672 full- and part-time jobs in the New Orleans area economy; creating a total of $154 million in additional earnings for residents of the New Orleans area. Similarly, ESSENCE officials documented record breaking attendance external link with more than 540,000 people attended the Fourth of July Holiday weekend festival, including more than 100,000 per day for the ESSENCE Empowerment Experience at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and 55,000 for the inaugural Family Reunion Day at Woldenberg Park.
Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) said, “We will remember 2013 as one of the best years in New Orleans’ tourism industry in nearly a decade. The Super Bowl that coincided with Mardi Gras, NCAA Women’s Final Four, a robust fall convention calendar and spring festival season are just a few of the highlights of a great year. We are grateful to Mayor Landrieu for his leadership and look forward to a successful 2014 for New Orleans’ most important economic engine, tourism.”
“New Orleans and the State of Louisiana will culminate an unprecedented run of world-class, major sporting events in 2014. Mayor Landrieu and his administration play a major role in the success of these events, fully understanding the importance to our local businesses and residents as well as the opportunity to promote our unique culture through world-wide media exposure,” said Jay Cicero, President/CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation.
Major film projects and local workforce development
2013 year-end projections show $376 million in direct spending for 47 tax credit projects in New Orleans. There were also 170 non-tax credit projects that contributed in over $6.5 million in spending.
The city saw its largest film production of the year in the spring of 2013, as Dawn of the Planet of the Apes filmed at locations across New Orleans. The production had an estimated $80 million local economic impact and employed about 600 local residents.
Other notable film projects produced in the city that premiered in theaters in 2013 included Oscar contenders 12 Years A Slave, Dallas Buyer’s Club and Lee Daniels: The Butler. New Orleans also saw a big interest from television series with True Detective, Ravenswood, Star-crossed and American Horror Story: Coven being filmed in the city.
“Our City is committed to creating an atmosphere that allows our cultural economy to flourish. Under the Mayor’s direction, we are supporting new business and jobs for New Orleans by welcoming major films and hundreds of special events every quarter,” said Scott Hutcheson, Advisor to the Mayor for Cultural Economy, whose office worked to build trade apprenticeships, national touring workshops for local artists and professional training, business management skill development courses for musicians in 2013.
As part of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Economy, Film New Orleans partnered with local organizations to produce low- cost or no- cost film industry workforce training programs for individuals interested in working in New Orleans burgeoning film industry. In 2012, productions spent $669 million in the New Orleans region resulting in an increased demand for locals to fill jobs in the industry. In 2013, the City partnered with local film industry businesses, New Orleans Video Access Center, Jefferson Parish, St. Bernard Parish, Local Union 478 and the UNO Foundation, to produce workforce training programs which trained a total of 90 individuals from the New Orleans region for jobs in the film industry.
The State of Louisiana, through the Motion Picture Tax Credit program, incentivizes productions to hire locals for their productions so the City assesses the needs of the industry and produces training programs to help fill the gaps in industry employment.
High marks for tourism
“New Orleans continues to appeal to more and more consumers who desire to experience a genuinely authentic and exciting destination,” commented Mark Romig, president and CEO of NOTMC. “And according to National Geographic Traveler, our city has also solidified its position as one of the “must see cities on the globe’. This is proof that we know how to roll out the red carpet for any occasion, from Super Bowls to honeymoons, from weekend getaways to music to good festivals.
In 2013, New Orleans received both national and global accolades:
In November, National Geographic Traveler named New Orleans one of 20 places to travel in the world during 2014
New Orleans received top honors at the 2013 World Travel Awards for excellence in sports tourism. For twenty years, the World Travel Awards has rewarded and celebrated excellence in the tourism industry with the input of distinguished travel professionals and consumers that represent more than 170 countries around the world, September 2013
Condé Nast Traveler placed New Orleans on its highly coveted Top 10 Cities in the United States Readers’ Choice Awards, receiving the highest marks for culture, atmosphere and restaurants, October 2013
New Orleans was named one of the 10 Best cities for Families by Family Vacation Critic, part of the TripAdvisor family, September 2013
According to Travel + Leisure readers who have visited the city, New Orleans tops the list in categories such as Live Music Scene, Happy Hour, People-Watching, Wild Weekends, Cocktail Lounges and more in their 2013 America’s Favorite Cities survey, November 2013
Travelocity’s travel experts named New Orleans as the Top National Halloween Destination. The travel outlet mentions New Orleans’ ghost tours, elaborate costume balls, Krewe of Boo and haunted hotels attribute to why New Orleans is the top destination in the world for Halloween, October 2013
Saveur magazine’s Culinary Travel Awards 2013 named New Orleans as the Reader’s Choice for Restaurants and Dining, and gave Outstanding Mention for Cocktails and Drinks Culture, October 2013
Bourbon Street was named one of the winners of the Iconic American Streets in 10 Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest by USA Today, October 2013
Orbitz named New Orleans one of the top 10 Labor Day destinations for 2013, August 2013
TripAdvisor named New Orleans one of the Top Travelers’ Choice Destinations in the U.S. and Canada, based on millions of traveler reviews and opinions, July 2013
Priceline.com announced that New Orleans’ French Quarter is the Most Popular Destination for July 4th, July 2013
New Orleans was selected as the Best Large City in AAA Southern Traveler’s Best of the South reader poll, July 2013
TripAdvisor ranked New Orleans among the most affordable cities in the U.S. for domestic travelers based on one night’s accommodation, dinner for two, cocktails and a taxi ride, June 2013
TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, announced the 2013 Travelers’ Choice Destinations awards and New Orleans placed under the Top 25 Travelers’ Choice U.S. Destinations, May 2013
New Orleans named a Top Summer Destination in the 2013 Gogobot Travelers’ Favorite Awards. The Top Summer Destinations are chosen based on the opinions of over 2.5 million members worldwide, May 2013
New Orleans awarded Silver in Favorite Big City Destination and Gold for Favorite Culinary Destination by National Tour Association, April 2013
Trade Show News Network announces New Orleans is number five of the 2012 Top Trade Shows in the United States by net square footage, April 2013
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Orbitz named New Orleans as the third Sexiest City of 2013, February 2013
Fodor’s editors placed New Orleans in the Top 25 Places to Go in 2013, January 2013
ABC Travel Guides for Kids named New Orleans in their list of Top Seven US Family Destinations for 2013, January 2013
“New Orleans has always had an abundance of visitors that are interested in cultural tourism. Neighborhoods such as Treme and Bywater are seeing record numbers of visitors which spurs economic development within those communities,“ said Toni Rice, President of the New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network.
City launches new special events website and improves permit process
As part of the Landrieu Administration’s ongoing efforts to improve and streamline the customer experience, the City introduced new services in 2013 to refine and enhance the process for permitting and licensing for event planners, operators and vendors.
Today, the One Stop Shop, which officially launched in March 2013 external link, acts as a single point of entry for 11 City departments that issue event permits and licenses. Through the work of the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, the City introduced key initiatives related to improving service delivery and assisting planners in executing safe and dynamic events that provide a desirable experience for participants and the community. It has several new features to minimize wait times and visits to City Hall for permits related to events:
In October, the One Stop Shop began accepting permits and licenses for events held in New Orleans. In the past, applicants had to visit 11 departments that were located in six different buildings and on multiple floors of City Hall. Today, the One Stop issues 15 types of event-related permits and licenses.
Also in October, the One Stop Shop created and introduced one central application for all event types and the City began accepting online applications and accepting major credit cards as payment methods for permits and licenses.
The City also launched the Special Events Center external link which significantly improved access to information for event organizers. The site highlights specific permitting needs for events based on size, level of impact and general event type and important contact information for pertinent City agencies. Special event news, updates and event attraction are also hosted on the Events Online Center.
Additionally, through the work of the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, the City introduced key initiatives related to improving service delivery and assisting planners in executing safe and dynamic events that provide a desirable experience for participants and the community:
Launched in September 2013, the Event Support Team is a multi-agency team with decision makers from every municipal department involved in and/or affected by the production of events. The team meets every month to review near and long-term scheduled events, mitigate operational issues and provide counsel to event operators where necessary.
The City introduced periodic event trainings and informational sessions to educate event operators and vendors on permitting and licensing procedures, policy and process changes related to event planning.
“The City’s new services allow the City to be a viable partner during the planning, permitting and event execution process. Applicants for events large and small now have the ability to start, track and pay for special event related permit and license applications remotely,” said Ava Rogers, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer.
Looking forward to 2014
In 2014, New Orleans will host the 2014 Sugar Bowl in January, NBA All-Star Game 2014 in February and the WWE WrestleMania XXX in April. Annual events including Mardi Gras, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, ESSENCE Festival celebrating its 20th anniversary and French Quarter Festival are anticipating record number of attendees in the coming year.