Representatives from New Orleans travelled north this week, meeting with Canadian travel partners eager to learn what The Big Easy has to offer travellers in 2015.
In addition to individual meetings with travel industry members, the New Orleans CVB also hosted a dinner event last night for the travel trade.
According to Maria Manzella of the New Orleans CVB, an expansion of the city’s St. Charles Ave. streetcar line has made getting around easier for travellers, allowing tourists to make their way across the city from the downtown to the riverfront and providing access to popular attractions such as the New Orleans Art Museum.
“It will be easy to access any attraction or hotel in the downtown area with public transportation,” she said. “You didn’t need to have a car before and now it will be even easier.”
Manzella added that with the streetcar extension comes increased development, including new restaurants which will add to New Orleans’ reputation as a culinary destination. Recently opened is the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, with an on-site restaurant, as well as an exhibit on the cocktail (born in New Orleans) and Creole and Cajun cuisine, said Manzella.
Other infrastructure improvements include a renovation at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center to connect the facility with the downtown French Quarter area, which Manzella said will “bring the area together” with a public park, a river walk, new hotel and various entertainment attractions.
Manzella said that renowned New Orleans trumpeter Irvin Mayfield is also expanding his Bourbon St. club – Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse – to what will be known as the New Orleans Jazz Marketplace, a project incorporating a performance venue focusing on the city’s jazz musicians and musical heritage.
A major project is also currently underway at the city’s Louis Armstrong International Airport, said Manzella, to restore more international flights (many carriers cut their services following Hurricane Katrina) by 2018. Currently, Air Canada is the only regular international carrier flying to the airport, Manzella noted.
While Canada continues to be the number one market for the city, interest in New Orleans as a travel destination is growing in Europe, particularly in France due to the city’s French heritage, she said.
“We’ve definitely seen more interest from international markets,” said Manzella.
Where to stay in NOLA
PAX also sat down with representatives from New Orleans’ hotel industry to learn more about some of the city’s accommodations:
The Maison Dupuy: A recently-renovated, 200 room hotel in the French Quarter and just blocks from Bourbon St., The Maison Dupuy has quickly become a popular destination for weddings due to its historic setting and charm.
The Hotel Modern: Located on St. Charles Ave and opened in 2012, this 135-room hotel puts guests within walking distance of several attractions, including the National WWII Museum and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.
New Orleans Plantation Country: Consisting of 16 historic plantations open to travellers looking to learn more about the region’s history, many of the properties also feature accommodations for overnight guests.
PHOTO: Maria Manzella, Tourism Sales Manager, New Orleans CVB; Erin Boreros, Senior Sales Manager, The Maison Dupuy; Joanne Scalamogna, Access Marketing; Grace Duplantier, Sales and Catering Manager, The Hotel Modern; Megan Ryburn, Tourism Sales Manager, New Orleans Plantation Country.