TIAs plans for board meeting in New Orleans still a go

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WASHINGTON -- As a show of support for New Orleans as it continues to recover from the impact of Hurricane Katrina, the Travel Industry Association (TIA) announced that it would go forward with a plan to hold its upcoming board of directors meeting this month in the Crescent City.

TIA officials, speaking at a press conference in New Orleans, said the meeting would be held November 29 and 30 at the Marriott and Sheraton hotels and will include more than 50 senior officials representing leading travel companies, tourism offices and destinations from throughout the U.S.

We are committed to showing support to New Orleans and the entire Gulf region as it continues its recovery following Hurricane Katrina, said TIA President Roger Dow in a statement. With travel and tourism playing such a significant role in the New Orleans economy, TIA has never wavered in our hope that we could hold our board meeting as planned.

TIA said the decision to honor its previously scheduled commitment to the city was made after TIA senior management consulted hotel representatives, the citys convention and visitors bureaus president Stephen Perry, and the states Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu, who is responsible for the states office of culture, recreation and tourism.

Steve and Mitch have assured me that our show of support at this time is a welcome sign for others to see New Orleans is open for business, including travel and tourism, Dow said.

Our entire board is looking forward to getting a first-hand view of the progress that is being made to rejuvenate one of Americas great destinations, added Barbara Richardson, vice president of marketing and sales at Amtrak and TIAs national chair.

New Orleans just received the equivalent of the tourism industrys Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, said Perry. This is a significant national signal that some of the most respected and prestigious tourism industry leaders have selected New Orleans as their location for this important event. This visit demonstrates the commitment of the TIA to helping our city continue to rebuild better than ever.

Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the Gulf Coast on August 25, battering Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana in the process. In the case of New Orleans, the hurricanes damage included the destruction of levees that had for years held the river back. Consequently, the city was flooded.

Since then, TIA estimates that Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi are losing as much as $50 million a day in tourism revenue. New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana account for $37 million of that total.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Michael Milligan at [email protected].

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