On Monday, April 22, New Orleans tourism industry leaders and civic stakeholders gathered to announce the formation of their alliance as the Tricentennial Consortium, and present their Tricentennial Plan, a powerful holistic vision to be implemented in the next five years, that will create thousands of jobs, generate greatly increased tourism demand, spur economic development and ensure the continued growth of New Orleans’ economy for decades to come. The unified plan has been under development for the past three years to support the goals of The Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) 2010 Strategic Master Plan for the tourism and hospitality industry of the City of New Orleans.
It is now culminating with the alignment of key components for execution over the next five years to benefit the next quarter century. The overarching goals are to attract 13.7 million visitors, create $11 billion in direct spending, 33,000 additional jobs and $700 million in tax revenue by the city’s 300th anniversary in 2018.
The Tricentennial Plan for these next five years leading up to the city’s 2018 300th birthday involves several legislative and infrastructure initiatives and two major public policy positions:
1. The united industry (Consortium) is opposed to an increase in sales tax impacting hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, attractions and retailers in New Orleans. We deeply appreciate our legislature deferring these taxes.
2. The united industry (Consortium) is strongly opposed to any transfer or other use of Morial Convention Center financial reserves, which are comprised of revenues generated by taxes proposed by the New Orleans hotel and restaurant industry and that were collected and dedicated by law solely to convention center and hospitality infrastructure development. We consider any reallocations or taking to violate sound public and fiscal policy, and to be violative of all agreements with the hotel and restaurant industry that led to the enactment of the taxes, and very likely the law as well.
3. The united industry (Consortium) strongly supports a major Convention Center Vision Plan that includes the riverfront and Convention Center Boulevard, the building, and the expansive Phase IV property, the financial and legal underpinnings of which are supported in HB516 (Leger). This many faceted development of demand generators is intimately connected to and tied in with….
4. A united industry effort filed by the Consortium to create a new vision for an iconic demand generator, world class facility, architectural edifice, landscape or like stunning public use of the current World Trade Center Property in a manner that has huge public and civic buy-in and broad public appeal. (The Wednesday filing by the Tricentennial Consortium to the city’s RFP.)
5. The united industry (Consortium) strongly supports an optional hotel assessment (not a tax, not a district, and no relation to last year’s bill) to raise new funds for marketing and promotion of New Orleans as a destination for special events, corporate and association meetings, business, and leisure travel, both domestically and internationally. This optional hotel assessment program would go a long way to catching up our destination with our competitors in marketing capacity, and will immediately create hundreds of millions of dollars of impact on our city economy and create thousands of new jobs. This is provided in SB 242 by Murray and Leger.
6. The united industry (Consortium) applauds and supports the Mayor’s recent announcement to build a new world class airport. The development of the new facility is the final piece in transforming our hospitality infrastructure and is critical to our brand and world competitiveness.
These six public policy announcements and initiatives are united and indivisible and each is required to lay the groundwork for a quantum leap in economic development, infrastructure modernization, demand generator creation, tourism growth, job creation and the generation of new tax revenues to care for our city.
The announcement was made today by Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO Ron Forman ; New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation Chair Darryl Berger and President and CEO Mark Romig ; New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau Chairman Gregory Rusovich and President & CEO Stephen Perry ; New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network President Toni Rice ; Louisiana Restaurant Association CEO Stan Harris , SMG Senior Vice President Doug Thornton ; New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Chair Melvin Rodrigue and President Bob Johnson ; and Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association officer and Area General Manager of Marriott Corp. Robert Bray .
This plan was formed to shape the conversation and public debate of hopes, dreams and aspirations for our great city, preparing New Orleans for the next century, and approaching the tricentennial five year plan as a unified group with a unified voice, strong public policy positions, and an action plan of projects and legislation to execute.