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 City Wide Conventions Are Back in New Orleans with the Arrival of 18,000
American Library Association Delegates; New Orleans Metropolitan CVB
Had Cancelled $2 billion in Meetings Business Since Last Fall
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NEW ORLEANS - June 22, 2006 -- Conventions are back in New Orleans with the arrival of the American Library Association's (ALA) 2006 Annual Meeting -- the first major city-wide convention since Katrina and a huge milestone in the city's rebirth. 

The New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau (NOMCVB) is celebrating the arrival of ALA's Annual Meeting being held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center June 22-28. The event brings 18,000 attendees, 8,000 peak hotel room nights to nearly 30 hotels, and will generate millions of dollars in economic impact to the city. 

In the June 22 meeting of the New Orleans City Council, City Councilmember-At-Large Arnold Fielkow led his fellow Council Members in an official proclamation saluting the American Library Association for being the first citywide convention to return to New Orleans. 

In preparation for this convention, the city's hospitality and tourism community united in an unprecedented fashion to gain the trust of meeting planning decision-makers and roll out the red carpet for visitors. The NOMCVB's "We're Jazzed You're Here!" message is visible on nearly every building and light pole in the tourism corridor of the city. More importantly, "We're Jazzed You're Here!" is a new customer service philosophy being implemented by the 85,000-member New Orleans hospitality community from hotel bellmen to taxi drivers to executive management to restaurant servers and more. 

"When ALA confirmed we would keep the world's largest library gathering in New Orleans last October, we were confident the city would be ready for our 18,000 members and guests - and it is," said ALA President Michael Gorman. "The New Orleans CVB and local officials have worked with us every step of the way to provide honest progress reports and ensure no detail was overlooked. We are proud to be a part of the city's revival and to show the world that not only do libraries build communities but LIBRARIANS do, as well." 

Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the NOMCVB, added, "On behalf of the New Orleans' hospitality industry, we are deeply grateful to the American Library Association for giving us an opportunity to prove why New Orleans is still one of the most historic, most walkable, most authentic meeting cities in the world. Tourism is serious business for New Orleans - providing 35 percent of the city's operating budget and creating 85,000 jobs. In 2006, New Orleans successfully welcomed 700,000 Mardi Gras revelers, 350,000 music lovers to JazzFest and now, 18,000 business travelers with the American Library Association. These accomplishments send a resounding message that the New Orleans experience that visitors know and love is not only intact but thriving. Hosting major meetings and conventions reestablishes New Orleans' role as an unforgettable destination for not only associations and corporations, but leisure visitors and families as well." 

Since last fall, New Orleans cancelled $2 billion in meetings business. 

ALA's Annual Meeting will feature prominent speakers such as Madeleine Albright, Cokie Roberts and Anderson Cooper. First Lady Laura Bush has been invited to a national town hall meeting, "School Libraries Work: Rebuilding for Learning." ALA also will offer a community service project where more than 900 volunteers will help clean and repair libraries in the outlying New Orleans parishes. 

For press credentials to attend ALA sessions and special events, please visit www.ala.org or the ALA press room at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Hall G, Level 1. 

Other recent successful meetings in New Orleans include the USA Volleyball Association (5,000 attendees), the Air and Waste Management Association (3,000 attendees) and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (1,500 attendees). Maritz, Inc., one of the world's largest travel companies, relocated its Global Sales Conference to New Orleans in May, where 300 executives helped refurbish City Park. 

More than 27,000 rooms currently are available at corporate flags and historic boutique hotels in New Orleans. The Fairmont and the Ritz Carlton are scheduled to reopen in December 2006. Strategic Hotels & Resorts announced a new downtown revitalization project with a renovated New Orleans Hyatt (opening in Fall 2007), National Jazz Center and urban park. 

More than 1,000 restaurants, the Aquarium of the Americas, Mardi Gras World, The Shops at Canal Place, The Riverwalk, New Orleans Arena, Jax Brewery, Harrah's Casino, Audubon Zoo, national museums, historic shopping districts, nightclubs and music venues are open. There are 107 daily departures from Louis Armstrong International Airport to 34 cities, 77% of pre-storm level of cities served. Southwest Airlines recently added six daily non-stops from New Orleans. 

This week the national media reported that the National Guard has been assigned to patrol the outlying damaged and sparsely populated neighborhoods of the city. This will allow the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) to increase their patrols in the tourism areas and historic parts of the city, enhancing the already good safety record these districts enjoy. 

About the American Library Association 

The American Library Association (ALA) is the oldest and largest library association in the world with some 65,000 members, primarily school, public, academic and some special librarians, but also trustees, publishers, and friends of libraries. The Association's mission is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all. 

About New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau (NOMCVB) 

Since 1960, the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau (www.neworleanscvb.com) has been the driving force behind New Orleans' most important industry, attracting $4.9 billion to the region annually. Nationally recognized for superior customer service, NOMCVB represents over 1,200 members and provides convention services and visitor information for business travelers and vacationers. In 2004, the NOMCVB welcomed a record-breaking 10.1 million visitors to one of America's favorite meeting and leisure destinations. The NOMCVB is committed to rebuilding the city of New Orleans.

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Contact:

New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau
Kelly Schulz, 504-566-5045
Mobile: 504-421-0962
kschulz@neworleanscvb.com

American Library Association
Larra Clark 
lclark@ala.org
 

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Also See: Twenty Thousand Librarians to Test New Orleans Rebuilt Infrastructure; First Citywide Convention Since Hurricane Katrina Arrives Late June 2006 / June 2006
Lodging Market Impact: Additional Thoughts on Katrina / PKF Hospitality Research / October 2005

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