NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans received top honors at the 2013 World Travel Awards for excellence in sports tourism on Saturday, September 14th. This is the first time New Orleans has received the award since its inception in 2010. Nominees for the award included leading leisure travel and sports tourism destinations such as Chicago, Las Vegas, New York City, San Francisco, Toronto, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia.
For twenty years, the World Travel Awards has rewarded and celebrated excellence in the tourism industry with the input of distinguished travel professionals and consumers that represent more than 170 countries around the world. Votes are cast through an online year-long voting campaign that encourages global participation. More than 700,000 votes have been cast by participants in recent years.
New Orleans hosted an unprecedented series of sporting events in 2012 and 2013, including the 78th Annual Allstate Sugar Bowl, the 2012 Allstate BCS National Football Championship, 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four, 2013 NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four and Super Bowl XLVII, one of the most watched television events and highly rated events in sports history. 2014 sees the return to New Orleans of NBA All-Star Weekend (February 14-16) along with WWE’s 30th edition of WrestleMania (April 6). The city is also home to the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, as well as annual sporting events such as the Bayou Classic, the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, and the PGA Tour’s Zurich Classic.
“This recognition from the World Travel Awards is testament to our city’s unique ability to host the most spectacular events on the planet,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “From Super Bowl XLVII to the 2014 NBA All Star Game to WrestleMania XXX, New Orleans will continue to partner with leading organizations, large and small, to host world-class events where residents and visitors have enjoyable and safe experiences.”
“This award recognizes the extraordinary dedication and professionalism of the hospitality industry in our city,” noted Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Few places in North America can offer the combination of sporting venues, hotel rooms, and convention and meeting facilities that New Orleans can, and of course there’s no better place to hold a celebration.”
“New Orleans provides the complete visitor package to sports enthusiasts from around the globe,” said Mark Romig, President and CEO of New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. “From thousands of hotels rooms to hundreds of restaurants and music venues and eye-popping museums and attractions within an easy stroll to the sports district, New Orleans is the ideal venue for any sporting event.”
Jay Cicero, President & CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation and Executive Director of the 2013 Super Bowl Host Committee which oversaw the effort to manage Super Bowl XLVII, remarked that “As entertaining and exciting as these big name events may be, their continued confidence in New Orleans as a host city is a true testament to our experience, service and first-rate execution as well as the proximity of our hotels, facilities and the French Quarter. There’s something very special about New Orleans. Our passion for sporting events is ingrained into the city’s one of a kind culture, history, and ambiance, and only trumped by the professionalism of our tourism and hospitality industry. It is an honor that New Orleans receives the award as North America’s Leading Sports Tourism Destination.”
“New Orleans has a well-earned reputation as a leader in hosting world-class sporting events,” said Allstate Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan, “and the Sugar Bowl Committee is proud to have played an important role in developing that reputation. This city has a unique package of hotel, hospitality, entertainment and cuisine options that create a truly memorable experience for sports fans. Over the years, Sugar Bowl games, National Championship games and Final Fours have proved as much.”
Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson added that “New Orleans is a world class city. Our sports facilities are second to none. Our hotels and hospitality are the gold standard. As an owner for an NFL and NBA franchise; I hear firsthand from other owners about their desire to come and enjoy our city and its hospitality. They cite the proximity of our hotels, restaurants and entertainment to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the Arena. It is the perfect city to host any sporting event and I am proud to have the opportunity to share it with everyone.”
As host city of Super Bowl XLVII, New Orleans welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors and more than 5,000 credentialed media during the two-week Carnival season. This was the first time since 2002 that the city hosted a Super Bowl and the tenth time overall in its history, tying with Miami for hosting most often in Super Bowl history.
The New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau is a nationally accredited, 1,100-member destination marketing organization and the largest and most successful private economic development corporation in Louisiana. The CVB and its members influence thousands of decision-makers and millions of visitors to choose New Orleans through direct sales, marketing, public relations, branding and visitor services at our New Orleans headquarters and offices in Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, Phoenix and four foreign countries. Consistently recognized as one of the top five CVBs in the country, the New Orleans CVB celebrates its 53nd anniversary in 2013.
For more information, please visit www.neworleanscvb.com; www.facebook.com/neworleanscvb; www.twitter.com/neworleans.
New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC) promotes the city as a leisure tourism destination throughout the year. Annually, NOTMC’s marketing campaigns include strategic print, broadcast, and Internet advertising and public relations. Websites: NewOrleansOnline.com; NewOrleansMuseums.com; GoNOLA.com; RadioFreeNewOrleans.com. Social Media: Facebook.com/NewOrleansOnline; Twitter.com/visitneworleans; YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/gonolatv.