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New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO J. Stephen Perry Nominated to Three Boards of Directors for the Global Tourism Industry

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Leadership positions with U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, the Travel Industry of America and Destination Marketing Association International place New Orleans at forefront of national travel policy and CVBs around the world NEW ORLEANS, May 19

During the past six weeks, J. Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), has been nominated to serve on three of the most prestigious boards in the tourism industry, placing New Orleans at the forefront of national travel policy and global destination marketing organizations.

Mr. Perry was appointed this week to the United States Travel and Tourism Advisory Board by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Perry recently became a member of the Travel Industry Association Board of Directors and a member of TIA’s Public Policy Committee, and last week was unanimously nominated to become the Secretary-Treasurer of the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) Board of Directors.

Mr. Perry will be in Washington D.C. Tuesday to be sworn in by United States Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez as a member of the United States Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, an elite group that formulates national travel policy and advises the Department of Commerce and President of the United States.

The nomination is a tremendous honor for New Orleans’ hospitality industry, as Perry is one of only 15 CEOs appointed to serve on this board. It places him among other tourism luminaries such as Glenn Tilton, Chairman, President and CEO of UAL Corporation and United Airlines Inc.; David Kong, President and CEO of Best-Western International; Rossi Ralenkotter, President and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Mark Shapiro, President and CEO of Six Flags, Inc.

In addition, Perry recently became a member of the Travel Industry Association Board of Directors and will serve as a member of its Public Policy Committee, representing the interests of the American travel industry in regulatory and policy matters. TIA is a non-profit trade organization that represents and speaks for the common interests of the $740 billion U.S. travel industry. Based in Washington, D.C., TIA is a public voice and political liaison for the entire industry. It promotes increased travel to and within the United States through marketing initiatives, including the Discover America(R) brand as well as serving as advocates with the U.S. government to ease travel procedures.

Bill McCreary, CHA, President of the Greater New Orleans Hotel and Lodging Association, Area Managing Director of Starwood Hotels, General Manager for Sheraton New Orleans and member of the New Orleans CVB Board of Directors, said: “This national recognition makes us proud of Stephen’s outstanding leadership and gives our destination a ‘seat at the table’ for national travel decisions at a time when the continued success of travel and conventions will be critical to the recovery of New Orleans.”

DMAI is the governing and accreditation body of all CVBs in the world, representing more than 625 destination marketing organizations (DMOs) in more than 25 countries. DMOs — sometimes called CVBs (convention and visitor bureaus) or tourism commissions — promote the long-term development and marketing of a destination, focusing on convention sales, tourism marketing and service.

Mr. Perry has served as a member of DMAI since 2002, a member of its Board of directors since summer 2005, and in 2008 was unanimously nominated to become a member of its Executive Committee. This July at DMAI’s 94th Annual Convention in Las Vegas, Perry will take over as 2008-2009 Secretary-Treasurer, a leadership position that normally rotates to become Chair-elect and ultimately Chairman of the Board two years later.

“It’s an extraordinary accomplishment for Stephen to be nominated to this level of national leadership after only being in the tourism industry for six years,” said Ron Forman, 2008 Chairman of the New Orleans CVB and CEO of the Audubon Nature Institute. “These leadership positions are a testament not only to his tremendous national reputation, but to the widespread recognition that under Stephen’s leadership the New Orleans CVB and its innovative best practices and business model are now universally lauded as one of the best in the United States. Everyone in the city should be so proud of Stephen and the CVB’s hard-working staff.”

Before taking the lead of the New Orleans CVB in 2002, Perry served as Louisiana Governor Mike Foster’s Chief of Staff from the time the governor took office in January 1996. As Chief of Staff, Perry was responsible for overseeing the day to day management of Louisiana’s government and was a leader in efforts to build Phase III of the Morial Convention Center, the New Orleans Arena, NOCCA and the TPC PGA Tour golf course. Perry also served as the chief state negotiator along with Doug Thornton on the New Orleans Saints long-term deal and the successful efforts to attract the New Orleans Hornets from Charlotte.

Under Mr. Perry’s direction, the CVB has won multiple national awards for excellence in sales and marketing, branding, customer service and corporate relations and has reasserted itself as a national leader in innovative strategies and management approaches. The CVB under Perry has routinely been ranked as one of the top five CVB’s in America, winning the top annual awards for CVB’s from Successful Meetings, Meeting and Conventions and Corporate and Incentive Travel magazines and has won Platinum and Best of Show Adrian awards by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI).

Mr. Perry became well known for his leadership of New Orleans’ hospitality industry following Hurricane Katrina, as he led an unprecedented global effort to re-image the city and overcome customer concerns. He won many national accolades for his work post-Katrina in rebuilding tourism in New Orleans, becoming a regular guest on CNN, NPR, MSNBC, CNBC and other national news outlets in the 18 months after Katrina as he sought to promote the re-emerging Crescent City. He has also been featured on the cover and in leading articles in many national trade publications including this month’s issue of Convene.

Mr. Perry holds B.A. degrees in History and Russian Area Studies from LSU, with time at Moscow State University in the Soviet Union, and an M.A. in Anthropology from LSU after which he became a prehistoric archaeologist for a number of years. He also completed the Senior Executives Program in State and Local Government of the Kennedy School at Harvard University.

Consistently recognized as one of the top five convention and visitor bureaus in the United States, The New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau is the driving force behind New Orleans’ most important industry, tourism. Today the cultural riches, sensual indulgences and unparalleled service that define the New Orleans experience continue to flourish, as they have for centuries. The most celebrated and historic core of the city — including the French Quarter, Central Business District, Warehouse and Arts District, Magazine Street, the Faubourg Marigny and Garden District — are thriving. In 2007, New Orleans welcomed 7.1 million visitors, nearly double the amount of visitors in 2006. For more information, visit www.neworleanscvb.com.

Media Contacts:
Kelly Schulz or Mary Beth Romig
New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau
504-566-5019
kschulz@neworleanscvb.com  / mbromig@neworleanscvb.com

Jennifer Tolchin
Weber Shandwick
212-445-8336
jtolchin@webershandwick.com

SOURCE New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau

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