Sunday, May 28, 2006

New Orleans tourism update

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at http://www.DemocraticConventionWatch.com

The New Orleans tourism industry is slowly coming back, but issues remain, and the first big trade show takes place in 4 weeks. The Orlando Sentinel reports on the industry:

Hotels in the New Orleans metro area are running at about 79 percent occupancy for the first quarter of this year, a seemingly healthy, but misleading rate because the number of hotel rooms available is down nearly 30 percent.

The city has 27,000 hotel rooms, about 70 percent of its total before the hurricane, and 2,600 restaurants.

Officials said New Orleans and Louisiana are ready to handle more tourism traffic. While the region's service-industry work force was initially depleted because so many people fled the flooding, jobs and workers are starting to come back -- as are volunteers and tourists.
I've heard anecdotal evidence that a shortage of service-industry workers was very obvious during the DNC meeting in New Orleans in April.

The first major test of New Orleans' tourism infrastructure is coming up later this month:
Belinda Lazaro, public relations manager at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in the French Quarter, said she and many others are looking forward to the June 22-28 American Library Association conference.

"We'll have 30,000 librarians. It's our first citywide convention since Katrina," Lazaro said.

I would expect the DNC will be very interested to see how well this and other major trade shows go.

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