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NOLA named New York Times' No. 1 city to visit in 2018

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

For locals, New Orleans' tricentennial is nearly impossible to ignore. Now, more visitors could be looking to get in on this year's festivities, too.

It's a coveted title: the New York Time's number one city to visit in 2018.

"It's the most influential kind of exposure you can get. It drives people's decisions," said Vice President of Communications at New Orleans Convention and Visitor's Bureau Kristian Sonnier.

It's no wonder, considering New Orleans is celebrating its tricentennial this year.

"The tricentennial gave us a unique angle, there aren't many cities I can say there's 300 years old," said Sonnier.

Yet, it's not just the New York Times that's taken notice.

"Rob Report, Condi Nast Traveler, Travel and Leisure, USA Today. There are about 25 different travel and lifestyle publications and rankings that have said New Orleans is the place to be in 2018," Sonnier explained.

Sonnier says that's no accident - it's the result of a lot of hard work.

"We've been actively working with media to make sure that they're considering New Orleans as a place to visit in 2018," Sonnier said. "We've always had a lot of reasons to visit but, this year when you come to visit, you're going to learn about our Spanish, or French, or Haitian – all the different ethnic combinations that have made us a unique destination over the course of 300 years."

"It's like the salt and pepper are the seasoning, like when you're making a gumbo. You've got to come to New Orleans or you're going to miss the flavor of life," said Marcia Hughes.

Hughes and Germaine Moore are managers at the Praline Connection on Frenchmen. Specializing in Creole soul food, the two say the historical significance of visiting the Crescent City this year allows them to showcase their menu even more, offering tourists exactly what they came for.

"A lot of people come to the city, they want to know, 'We want to taste of real food of New Orleans.' And we consider ourselves a part of that," Hughes explained.

Sonnier says the city hosted more than 10 million guests last year and expects to see at least that many, if not more, this year.

While 2018 is the magic number, Sonnier says they hope to keep the momentum going into 2019.

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