New Orleans CVB Helps Philippines Recover from Typhoon Haiyan

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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New Orleans, LA – The Philippines is rebuilding its tourism base with help from the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau and its Hurricane Katrina experiences.

Brad Weaber, executive vice president of the New Orleans CVB and Kelly Schulz, vice president of communications and public relations for the bureau, traveled to the Philippines this Winter to meet with their counterparts in the island nation that was socked by a powerful typhoon in late 2013. “Travel and tourism are essential pieces of the puzzle when rebuilding a destination,” said Weaber.

Brad Weaber, executive vice president of the New Orleans CVB and Kelly Schulz, vice president of communications and public relations for the bureau, traveled to the Philippines this Winter to meet with their counterparts in the island nation that was socked by a powerful typhoon in late 2013. “Travel and tourism are essential pieces of the puzzle when rebuilding a destination,” said Weaber.

Weaber and Schultz met in late January with Secretary of Tourism Ramon Jimenez and leaders of the tourism and events industry to share their experiences in New Orleans’ recovery from Katrina, which temporarily derailed the city’s convention and tourism industry.

“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,” Schulz pointed out.

An aggressive marketing and advertising strategy and an emphasis on attracting trade shows and other business gatherings was considered a keystone of the effort. New Orleans drew 8.5 million visitors in 2005 before Katrina struck.  In 2006, that number fell more than 50% to 3.7 million visitors.  However, tourism and trade show visitors not only rebounded by 2012, but they surpassed pre-Katrina levels, reaching a level of 9 million visitors that year.

“We set short and long-term goals, and we drew visitors to New Orleans, which helped rebuild the infrastructure, restore jobs and strengthen the economy,” said Weaber.

The CVB also pitched in by pledging to help spread the word among meeting planners that the Philippines is “open for business.”

Reach Brad Weaber at (504) 566-5075 or bweaber@neworleanscvb.com; Kelly Schulz at (504) 566-5019 or kschulz@neworleanscvb.com