The following is in response to Jan Ramsey’s blog “Are More Visitors Really What We Need?,” wherein she suggests, “Maybe we should think more about the quality of visitors and less about the quantity… visitors who are more likely to spend more money, stay here longer and who are more appreciative of our culture.”—Ed.
In the words of Yogi Berra “the place is so crowded that nobody goes there anymore.” We have been going to New Orleans several times a year for a long time. We like going there so much that we bought a small place in the CBD and have become involved in local arts. There have indeed been monumental changes in the city since the storm, some good and some bad. Tourism is a necessary evil for a city like New Orleans, it always has been and always will be, but it doesn’t have to change the fabric of the culture. Bourbon Street has always been what it is and always will be—just don’t go there. The problem goes deeper than the quality of tourists that come here. It lies in the people that live here. The reason that people love NOLA is the charm, lifestyle of the city, there is no other place like it in the country. When that is lost and there is a Starbucks on every corner and NOLA become every town USA then the game is over. Don’t let NOLA turn into Key West, just another stop on the cruise.
—Steve Susaneck, Elk Grove Village, Illinois
As we all agree, tourism is critical to the livelihood of New Orleans. One in seven jobs here depend on it. The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation are tasked to entice people to visit the city, thereby supporting continued economic growth. Our top priority is ensuring that we have sustainable growth; respect, restore and preserve our infrastructure; and honor our traditions to ensure a rich quality of life for locals, long after popular seasons are over.
As far as “partygoers,” these alone wouldn’t grow New Orleans’ economy, but we know that the city’s rich culture is what makes NOLA a special brand that appeals to a bigger psychographic group of more adventurous travelers, one that we have termed the “experiential discoverer.” This person craves authenticity, history and heritage and wants to immerse themselves in the fabric of the city to experience our local spirit in a mutually-beneficial way.
Our present strategy is to target consumers with high intent to travel earlier in the week and who are influential in advising other like-minded travelers to consider traveling here once they return home.
Our campaign is focused on pursuing these new kinds of travelers—the cultural discoverers, accomplished creatives, lovers of music and the arts, and a growing international segment of travelers from Europe, Canada and Latin America and Asia: people that have the travel bug and are searching for an inspiring place to visit. New Orleans is unique and our communications model will continue to tell this story of the “real” New Orleans.
The NOLA brand now ranks at the top of the industry for travel. We are determined to ensure these visitors provide benefit with increased spending and returning stays.
—J. Stephen Perry, President and CEO, New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau; Mark C. Romig, President and CEO, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp.
Regarding Robert Fontenot’s April 2015 CD review of the Russell Welch Hot Quartet.
That [violin pretending to be a] theremin is actually a musical saw, played masterfully by Dr. Sick. [New Orleans songwriter multi-instrumentalist, violinist and guitarist].
—Jason Jurzak, New Orleans, Louisiana
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