New Orleans' goal to attract nearly 14 million visitors by 2018

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New Orleans Tuesday announced a strategic plan for the city's tourism sector to attract 13.7 million annual visitors and generate $11 billion in visitor spending by the city's 300th anniversary in 2018.

"No city has the culture, appeal or visitor experience of New Orleans, so we must have the most comprehensive master plan and shrewd business model of any destination marketing organization in the country," Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, said in a statement.

The plan, also intended to create 33,000 jobs and $700 million in tax revenue by 2018, was announced in New Orleans by Louisiana Lt. Governor Mitchell Landrieu, along with numerous representatives of New Orleans' hospitality and tourism industries.

Five top priorities of the plan were laid out:

  1. To establish clear governance and sufficient funding for the hospitality industry, including a more unified structure for local tourism organizations that will streamline operations and resources;
  2. To revitalize core assets such as the French Quarter and the airport;
  3. To strengthen external positioning through new marketing strategies and branding;
  4. To build, engage and support a world-class workforce and community;
  5. To drive long-term transformation including in the Riverfront and Canal Street areas.

New Orleans' tourism industry is one of the city's largest employers and an important economic driver for a city still recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

In 2008, New Orleans attracted approximately 7.6 million visitors who spent $4.1 billion; generated more than $300 million in tax revenues for New Orleans and Louisiana; and employed approximately 78,000 people, according to the New Orleans CVB.

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