New Orleans’ CVB
kept the faith at the
Hospitality Sales &
Affordable Meetings show
last month in Washington, D.C.
The announcement last month by
the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau that
all citywide conventions were canceled at least through March 31,
2006, left more than 100 convention groups scrambling to relocate.
That many have since found alternate sites is a testament to
planners’ resourcefulness in the wake of a storm season that has
crippled the Gulf Coast.
“Many planners have had to move whole events and arrange room
blocks in already crowded markets,” noted Tom Ackert, executive
director of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.
Indeed, Orlando as well as cities such as Boston, Denver, Las
Vegas, Orlando, and Washington, D.C., are filling the hole left by
the now inoperable Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, which prior
to Hurricane Katrina offered fully 1.1 million square feet of
Among the groups that relocated from New Orleans:
" HP Technology Forum (with an expected 5,500 attendees),
rescheduled for Oct. 17-20 in Orlando;
" American Society of Anesthesiologists (16,000), Oct. 22-26,
" National Business Aviation Association (30,000), Nov. 9-11,
" National Association of Convenience Stores (23,000), Nov.
15-18, Las Vegas; and
" American Public Health Association (14,000), Dec. 10-14,
At least two events set for New Orleans in coming months the
Bethesda, Md.-based National Electrical Contractors Association
show and the Fairfax, Va.-based Specialty Graphics Imaging
Association convention announced outright cancellation due to
Meanwhile, the Big Easy continues to dig out from the disaster.
The New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau reported that
while the Morial Center sustained damage to halls A and B and its
roof, an analysis of structural issues was positive and repairs
were proceeding ahead of schedule.
As of mid-September, 127 of the 203 hotels in New Orleans
remained closed, according to Lodging Econometrics, a consulting
firm based in Portsmouth, N.H. At least one property, the Hyatt
Regency New Orleans, announced it would be shuttered through the
end of 2006.
Among other meeting hotels, the Hyatt, Marriott, Sheraton and W
hotels all had full power restored by mid-September, but at press
time they remained largely closed to all but emergency workers.