The Lost Penny

On New Orleans tourism, see expert quotes on ‘world class’ city, key goals, more at forum

By The Advocate

Source: The Advocate

April 3, 2019

An expert panel on tourism brought together a host of important industries and ideas Tuesday morning in downtown New Orleans.

The forum, hosted at The New Orleans Advocate, delved into several subjects integral to the city’s tourism future and also asnwered some of the audience’s questions.

Scroll below for the ten speakers, and a quote from each.

John Pourciau, Chief of Staff to New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

“What gets lost in the hospitality industry conversation is that it is the people of New Orleans that is the draw for tourists. We are a unique city and we need to recognize that. What the mayor has been discussing with ‘fair share’ is that we can sustainably deal with this the way other cities have using a larger percentage of tax on basic city services.”

Stephen Perry, CEO New Orleans & Co.

Referring to the original tax deals in the 1960s and 1970s that funded the Superdome and the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center:

“The city was the beneficiary of the greatest deal in the history of cities: two $1 billion economic drivers built by the state of Louisiana in conjunction with the hospitality industry.”

Dan Real, regional president of Ceasar’s Entertainment, Harrah’s parent company

“We need to do everything we can to make this a better place to work, play and visit and the rules we currently operate under are 30 years old.”

Amy Glovinsky, CEO Bureau of Governmental Research

“The conversation today must include…the reality of the critical need for infrastructure funding and what role the tourism entities should play in responding to this problem. Also, we must recognize that the city has a duty to demonstrate transparency and that it can achieve effective outcomes.”

Evan Holmes, Director of Business Operations, SMG/Superdome

“The Superdome was the beginning of the ‘sports tourism space’, as it has become known over the past 40 years. It is a model for other cities that have acknowledged and and copied it.”

Michael Sawaya, President and GM, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

“We don’t take these things lightly. We have embarked on capital improvement plan based on information we have from our customers, who have the ability to do business anywhere in the country. Over $500 million in improvement will be financed by visitor taxes.”

Kevin Dolliole, Director of Aviation for Louis Armstrong International Airport

Referring to the $1.3 billion airport renovation that is due for completion this year, and the critical report in 2010 that led to its funding:

“The airport will no longer be ‘the disatissifier’ and the city will benefit immensely.”

Barry Kern, CEO of Kern Studios and Mardi Gras World

Referring to Disney World’s and others adopting Mardi Gras themes as part of their seasonal entertainment, which benefits his and other New Orleans companies:

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

Jonah Langenbeck, head of marketing at National WWII Museum

Referring to the 800,000 visitors the museum now attracts annually:

“Not bad for a little history museum started by a couple of professors.”

Ron Forman, CEO Audubon Nature Institute

“We could be a major city — competing with cities like New York and San Francisco — because of our world class tourism industry.”

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