New Orleans Shares Katrina Lessons With The Philippines - CW15 - OMAHA

New Orleans Shares Katrina Lessons With The Philippines

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SOURCE New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau

New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau Leaders Guide the Philippine Tourism Board through Successful Strategies in Restoring the Cultural Economy Following Devastation

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Parts of the Philippines have been devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, yet the vast majority of the country's 7,107 islands are open for business and will need a thriving tourism industry to begin the long recovery process. For assistance, the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines reached out to New Orleans tourism officials to learn from their experience in successfully rebuilding New Orleans tourism industry after Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill.

New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) Executive Vice President Brad Weaber, CMP and Vice President of Communications and Public Relations Kelly Schulz traveled to the Philippines, January 24 – 31, 2014 to meet with tourism stakeholders in Manila, Cebu and Boracay to share best practices and recommendations for bringing back tourism and conventions to the Philippines. Their visit included a meeting with The Honorable Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr., Secretary of Tourism for the Philippines.

New Orleans tourism officials also met with tour operators, meeting professionals and presented to the first session of the Philippine Council for the Advancement of Association Executives, held in Manila on January 30. Prior to joining the CVB, Weaber spent 28 years as a meeting professional and he spoke about the importance of meetings, conventions, exhibitions and incentives in the Philippines recovery.

"Gaining such insight from New Orleans tourism leaders has been an invaluable process," said Domingo Ramon C. Enerio, III, Chief Operating Officer of the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines. "The CVB shared their experiences and learnings, best practices and immediate recommendations on how to reclaim the Philippines as a top destination. We are looking ahead with great optimism to our future and want everyone to know that the Philippines is open for business."

Before Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, New Orleans' travel and tourism industry generated $5 billion annually, hosted 8.5 million visitors, employed 85,000 people and created 35 percent of the city's operating budget. The city went from an all-time low of 3.7 million visitors in 2006 to nine million visitors in 2012, due in large part to the CVB's leadership and marketing strategies to restore the cultural economy.

"Travel and tourism are essential pieces of the puzzle in rebuilding a destination following such devastation as seen in the Philippines," said Weaber. "What we experienced in New Orleans, while different, is similar in terms of feeling the loss of a city, community, friends and family. We reacted quickly. We set short and long-term goals. And we drew visitors to New Orleans, which helped rebuild the infrastructure, restore jobs for our citizens and strengthen the economy."

Schulz added, "The resurgence of tourism is one of the biggest success stories of post-Katrina New Orleans. Yet tourism does not just happen on its own. It takes aggressive marketing, advertising and promotion to reach visitors, especially after a disaster when many misperceptions exist. It was an honor to share our experience with the Filipino people."

The relationships formed during the international mission will continue. New Orleans CVB has committed to help spread the message to tour operators and meeting planners that the Philippines is open for business.

For more information on New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), please visit www.neworleanscvb.com.

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