21 Oct CityBusiness Guest Perspective: Turning Business Visitation into Relocation

Quentin Messer Jr.

New Orleans Business Alliance President & CEO Quentin L. Messer, Jr. writes in the October edition of CityBusiness that New Orleans can convert more business meeting visitors into permanent members of the New Orleans business community:

For a year, I’ve written a lot about how economic development works and why it matters, detailing how we at the New Orleans Business Alliance work daily to build a more diverse, sustainably growing economy for the benefit of every Orleans Parish resident and the entire region. Our work focuses on those industries and activities where we can enhance local assets and leverage them to make New Orleans more economically competitive.

Recent news of British Airways’ new nonstop flights between New Orleans and London highlight the important connection between tourist visitor and business investment attraction. Domestic business decision makers who visit our city are more likely to expand or relocate here. International decision makers act similarly, and enhanced international flight connectivity makes it easier for the world to become exposed to the wonder that is New Orleans.

Cities with consistent tourist visitor attraction successes often translate these successes into enhanced business investment and corporate growth. Nashville, Orlando and Las Vegas have successfully built economic engines leveraging their attractiveness to leisure travelers. New Orleans’ longstanding ability to win meetings and conferences offers innumerable opportunities to introduce New Orleans to more business decision makers.

In addition to converting more business meeting visitors into permanent members of the location business community, we possess a best-in-class digital media and software development incentive. This incentive enables companies that provide technology to restaurants, hotels and other hospitality ventures to consider New Orleans for relocation, or grow organically here.

iSeatz was founded in New Orleans in 1999. Today, the company is one of the most powerful booking engines for ancillary travel products in the market, boasting an international clientele that has included American Express, Amtrak, Eurostar, International Hotel Group, Open Table and Orbitz, among others.

It is incumbent on our economic development and tourism/hospitality communities to work together to ensure we seize this opportunity. NOLABA is fortunate to have as board members Henry Coaxum, Greg Rusovich and Michael Smith.

Henry has a long history of involvement with the Louisiana Restaurant Association. Both Michael and Greg serve on the executive committee of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau Board. The CVB, Convention Center and Tourism Marketing Corporation are working more intentionally with NOLABA and other economic development organizations to translate business visitation into business relocation.

Since the start of 2015, New Orleans has welcomed Panamanian, German and British airlines to Louis Armstrong International. Obviously important for our tremendous tourist traffic and business attraction, these flight arrivals also make it easier for local companies to expand their international operations, our universities to recruit students from across the globe and our four hospital systems to draw patients from across the globe.

New Orleans is a global cultural brand. Only one American city can say that she gave birth to a global music idiom and a cuisine. Tennessee Williams’ quote remains as relevant today as when we first met Stella and Stanley. Join us in working to ensure that our business reputation activity matches our cultural brand identity. Welcome, world!

Quentin L. Messer Jr. is president and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance.

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