Board Makes Budgeting Changes

Posted on: March 3 2010
Taking one of what will be many steps in the process of merging the two groups that currently promote tourism in New Orleans...

First steps are taken to merging the two groups that currently promote tourism in New Orleans

By Jaquetta White, The Times-Picayune

February 24, 2010

Taking one of what will be many steps in the process of merging the two groups that currently promote tourism in New Orleans, the governing board of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center - New Orleans voted Wednesday to assign the responsibility of funding a portion of the facility's budget to the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The CVB will take on a job currently performed by the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp., which acts as a conduit, passing along a portion of the taxes generated by the Regional Transit Authority to various tourism agencies.

The change moves forward plans to fold the marketing corporation into the visitors bureau this year.

The New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. is a public-private agency financed through the city's general fund, proceeds from hotel and RTA taxes, and Harrah's New Orleans Casino.

Under the law that created it, the marketing agency, besides performing its primary mission of marketing the city to vacationers, also acts as a conduit to pass along city money to several other agencies including the Mayor's Office of Tourism and Arts, the New Orleans Film and Video Commission and even the CVB, the Convention Center and the Multicultural Tourism Network.

A task force created to reinvigorate New Orleans' hospitality industry has proposed merging the marketing corporation with the larger visitors bureau. The plan will require City Council approval.

In other news, the convention center board also voted to share in the more than $1 million cost of hosting the December meeting of the International Association of Exhibitions & Events. The convention center will reimburse the visitors bureau nearly $595,000 in costs associated with hosting the conference, which will bring representatives from the tradeshow and exhibition industry to New Orleans in December and which, officials say, has the potential to steer other meetings to the city.