New Orleans named one of World's Top Destinations for 2014
Don Ames Reporting
New Orleans tourism officials are excited about National Geographic Traveler's latest recognition awarded the city.
The international publication has named New Orleans one of the 21 must-see destinations in the world for 2014 in their current issue.
Ranked among destinations such as Liechtenstein, the West African island nation of Cabo Verde, and Sochi, Russia, the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics; New Orleans is one of only two destinations in the United States to make this list. The other is Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park.
"It's quite an honor for the City of New Orleans to be included along with these other destinations," says Mark Romig, Chief Executive Officer of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. "It speaks well, I think, of where the city has come since Katrina and the fact that we are what we are, which is the most authentic destination in North America."
Romig speaks often of the city's authenticity.
"What we have to offer in a visit to New Orleans is a unique and memorable experience that is unmatched in North America."
"It's real," he says. "You don't have to recreate the 300 years of history that we have...the French Quarter, the Mississippi River, the confluence of all the foods from around the world that make up our cuisine, the music...we have America's original art form of jazz here."
According to National Geographic Traveler, its list reflects the most exceptional current travel destinations in the world.
"When you compare our city to these other destinations, you see that New Orleans is listed as one of these global communities that people recognize as being culturally rich, sustainably minded and sought after in the world of travel today," says Romig.
"And, the fact that it comes from National Geographic Traveler, which is the worlds's most widely read travel magazine, that speaks so well of the people of the city and, of course, the men and woman who work in the hospitality industry," Romig says.
"It certainly speaks to the renaissance that New Orleans is experiencing. And, it's not without a lot of hard work from thousands of people that live in New Orleans and in the surrounding areas who really are pulling on the same side of the rope and wanting to make this community a better place to live."
And, he feels certain that being named a top world destination will enhance international visitation to the city.
"It certainly does mean great things for us because we don't have the type of resources to market ourselves as much as other destinations. So, when you are listed in National Geographic Traveler as one of the '21 Must See Places for 2014'...that's being seen by people, not only across the United States and North America, but around the world."
National Geographic Traveler publishes 14 international editions.