JUN 2018

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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J U N E 2 0 1 8 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 11 attendance during 2017, with the Orange County Convention Center welcoming an unprecedented 1.53 million attendees (up five percent over 2016). Additionally, Orlando International Airport became the busiest airport in Florida, with 44.6 million passengers (a 6.4 percent increase over 2016). "Our record-breaking year was achieved despite international head- winds and the statewide effects of Hurricane Irma," said Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel. "In 2017, our destination launched new consumer experiences on a significant scale and our market- ing efforts leveraged increasing consumer confidence in the United States. We also continued our focus on communicating the unique emo- tional connection visitors have with Orlando." "Orlando's record-setting visita- tion affirms the city as a leader in the U.S. travel industry," said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. "The success in Orlando is great, not just for this iconic destination but for travel as a whole. As the U.S. overall looks to regain its share of the global travel market, this new milestone in Orlando is a welcome reminder of the resiliency of this industry." Louisiana CVB Rebranded NEW ORLEANS — In May, the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (NOCVB) was re- branded to become New Orleans & Company. According to a statement released by New Orleans & Com- pany, the organization will focus not only on growing the city's cultural economy and hospitality enterprises, driving dynamic, sustainable busi- ness growth and career-oriented job creation, but will also focus on continuing its evolution as a thought leader, collaborative convener and partner to the workforce, local gov- ernment and all of its citizens. "We believe that our culture is our greatest strength and that the people of New Orleans create that culture," said Stephen Perry, president & CEO of New Orleans & Company. "As New Orleans & Company, we are committed to our core mission of ensuring that we are a catalytic force for our indus- try and drive business growth for thousands of small-business owners and significant business enterprises. But we also have a new mission of connecting with the broader econ- omy, partnering with government on finding solutions to move our city forward, and improving the lives of all of our workforce and all residents in every neighborhood of our city. We are committed to nour- ishing and sustaining the culture that attracts millions of visitors each year and in doing so improving the quality of life for all of us who call New Orleans home. Our new name embodies the inclusiveness we value, with 'Company' representing our many members and partners, the more than 100,000 employees directly employed in the tourism industry in New Orleans, the cul- ture-bearers and creators who shape and carry on our traditions, and, of course, the visitors we welcome as our guests. The culture of hospitality shapes who we are and how the world sees us." According to Gregory Rusovich, CEO of Transoceanic Development and 2018 chairman of the board for New Orleans & Company, tourism revenues generate 43 percent of the city's operating budget through sales tax and property tax, with the city attracting about 17 million visitors each year. The launch of New Orleans & Company also includes a new New Orleans cultural economy and tour- ism website, Boutique Hotel Opens NEW ORLEANS — B On Canal, a boutique hotel, recently opened following an extensive multi-mil- lion-dollar renovation. The 15- story, 1930s Canal Street building, situated in the central business and theater district, and within walking distance to the French Quarter, in- cludes 155 guest rooms and 1,750 square feet of event space. Mad- am's Modern Kitchen + Bar offers a dining room and bar seating, as well as a private dining room. "It is a great time to be opening in New Orleans and having a pres- ence in the center of it all has us very enthusiastic to introduce the B brand to the city," said General Manager Bruce Perone. "B On Canal evokes the charm of the city and provides guests with a unique food and beverage experience, offering a modern take on history that will leave a lasting impression." The hotel's homage to the city's history can be seen in the property's design and ornate details. The ballroom and meeting rooms are dressed in rich drapery with tie-back curtains and sheers, buffet cabi- nets with granite countertops and mid-century wall sconces, all under an embossed metal ceiling. n Jones Plaza Redevelopment HOUSTON — Houston First Corporation (HFC) has announced redevelopment plans for Jones Plaza, located in the heart of down- town's Theater District, selecting Rios Clementi Hale Studios (RCHS) to lead the multi-million-dollar project, which aims to revitalize the plaza into a vibrant public square for all visitors. The project, begun in May, is slated for completion in November 2020. Describing the plaza as the Center Stage of the District, HFC, Theater District Houston and Downtown Redevelopment Authority intend to transform the plaza into a welcoming, programmable venue for downtown visitors, residents and performing arts patrons. In addition to outdoor elements, HFC envisions the plaza to incorporate a 4,000-square-foot dining facility that offers a fast-casual counter and seated, upper-casual service for breakfast, lunch, early and pre-theatre dinner, as well as post-theatre dessert and drinks. The facility will feature a transparent building skin with indoor and outdoor seating, and a shared kitchen facility and restrooms, as well as private event spaces that can be rented to the public. n

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