NYC to sponsor 'patriotic tourism' trip to support Big Easy By Nadine Godwin / January 26, 2006 Share 1 -- NEW YORK -- New York Citys top tourism officials will lead a mission to help rebuild travel to New Orleans and to show support for a city that they say had been supportive of the Big Apple in its time of need after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. The city hopes, by its example, to encourage countless others to follow.Jonathan Tisch, NYC & Co. chairman, said, It is very evident it is travel and tourism that will lead to the rebirth of New Orleans, [and] we know how important it is for people to show they care...Patriotic tourism contributed to record domestic volume [for New York] within a year after 9/11, he said. It helped us emotionally as well as economically, and thats why it is important for New York to be first with such a trip to the Big Easy.He said the NYC & Co. trip -- expected to attract hundreds over the weekend of Feb. 10 to 12 -- is the first major patriotic tourism effort to New Orleans. All New Yorkers are invited to join us... to show they care, to spend their money and to help rebuild and renew the great city of New Orleans.Cristyne Nicholas, president and CEO of NYC & Co., saying that New York and New Orleans are like sister cities, said New York had received more than 50 patriotic tourism groups after 9/11. Besides the well-published 1,000 visitors from Oregon for Columbus Day and another 5,000 from Canada a week later, some of those tourists had come from New Orleans; the Louisiana city also was among those to give the city a fire truck, she added.In order to participate in the NYC & Co. trip, prospective participants have to register at the NYC & Co. Web site (www.nycvisit.com/nyclovesnola) in order to have access to all planned events and special discounts from participating attractions, activities, stores and restaurants. (See box below for more details). Agents can use the site as well for their clients. Wed love for travel agents to get involved with this, Nicholas told TravelWeekly.com.Several dozen NYC & Co. board members will be in the delegation, including Tim Zagat, founder and CEO of the Zagat Survey, who will personally lead a dine-around evening in a city noted for fine eats.City officials also will participate, including Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott and Adrian Benepe, commissioner of the Dept. of Parks and Recreation. Aside from opening the door to unique sightseeing tours, food and entertainment, planners are focusing on the parks.Tisch said parks are important to a city and recalled that, when New Yorks life seemed to stop after 9/11, people went to the parks, but people in New Orleans are cut off from theirs.Participants can spend part of their New Orleans visit as volunteers cleaning and greening the citys City Park, which is 50% larger than New Yorks Central Park, Tisch said. Noting the Central Park Conservancy has and will continue to raise funds for New Orleans parks, he said planners also hope to leave behind a New York park bench and live oak.To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Nadine Godwin at email@example.com.NYC Loves NOLA: Book it!Once participants register for the trip, theyll have access to the discounts available over the weekend. All travelers are responsible for any expenses related to the trip, including flights; accommodations; tours and excursions; entertainment; gratuities and dining, except for select meals on the itinerary. Roundtrip air is available from all three New York-area airports (Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark) via American Continental and JetBlue with rates priced at $129 roundtrip.Hotel accommodations start at $149 per night and can be booked at the New Orleans Intercontinental Hotel (host hotel), the Hotel Monteleone, the Loews New Orleans Hotel, the New Orleans Marriott, the Royal Sonesta Hotel or the Sheraton New Orleans Marriott.Tours and excursions, meanwhile, are provided through the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau and Gray Line Sightseeing.For details, visit www.nycvisit.com/nyclovesnola.