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New Orleans’ tourism numbers continue to grow. In 2017, the city enjoyed a more than 6 percent increase in visitors and direct tourism spending.
It’s one reason why NOLA’s tourism market has been expanding for the past few years, adding new hotels, restaurants, events and more. In addition, there are several new flights into and from the city, and plans are in the works to redevelop the 3.2 miles of riverfront that includes parks and building renovations. Here’s a look at the latest in New Orleans.On the GroundNew to the city’s growing hotel scene is The Eliza Jane, which is situated in a 19th-century Central Business District building that once housed the area’s Picayune newspaper. The hotel is named for the newspaper’s first female publisher, Eliza Jane Poitevent. Part of the Unbound Collection by Hyatt, the 196-room property includes restaurant Couvant (opening this summer), The Press Room lobby bar and more than 1,700 square feet of event space.
Other recent additions to the Central Business District include two Marriott properties: the contemporary Moxy New Orleans, with its 108 industrial-style guestrooms, hip bar and fast Wi-Fi access; and Fairfield Inn & Suites New Orleans Downtown/French Quarter Area, housed in a historic building that used to be the headquarters for Interstate Electric Company. The 35-room boutique Catahoula Hotel, named for the state’s official — and unusual — dog breed, is another district newcomer.
The National WWII Museum broke ground late last year for The Higgins Hotel & Conference Center, which will operate as a Curio Collection by Hilton property, the first of its kind for Louisiana. The 230-room full-service hotel is scheduled to open in 2019 and will help support the museum’s expanding educational programs as well as the almost 1 million visitors it receives, most of whom arrive from out of state.
Also set to open in 2019 is Hard Rock Hotel New Orleans, located at the corner of Rampart and Canal streets in the city’s Theater District and less than 1 mile from the French Quarter. The property will offer 350 guestrooms; an upscale restaurant; 12,000 square feet of meeting space and ballrooms; and a rooftop bar.In the Airor the past three years, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport has set passenger records, with growth occurring over the last seven years. Now, three airlines have announced new flights into and from the Big Easy.
Spirit Airlines will offer a nonstop flight from New Jersey’s Atlantic City International Airport to New Orleans, and Southwest Airlines has plans for a seasonal nonstop Saturday flight to Cancun. Condor Airlines just began offering nonstop flights from New Orleans to Frankfurt, Germany.
Louis Armstrong airport itself continues to expand, with a new terminal set to open next year.
On the WaterCruising from the Port of New Orleans has also set records, counting more than 1 million passengers through the city’s terminals in 2017. Later this year, Norwegian Cruise Line will sail Norwegian Breakaway to the Caribbean; it will be the largest cruise ship to sail from New Orleans. Additionally, Royal Caribbean International will return with Vision of the Seas, and Carnival Cruise Line will add New Orleans to its offerings in 2019.
Around TownVisiting The National WWII Museum can be a somber affair, but this month, the acclaimed museum has opened an exhibition meant to inspire joy. “So Ready for Laughter: The Legacy of Bob Hope” features artifacts, films, photographs and more of the iconic comedian’s time entertaining American troops over the years. The exhibit will be on display through Feb. 10, 2019, in the Joe W. and Dorothy D. Brown Foundation Special Exhibit Gallery. The DetailsNew Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau www.neworleans.com