Hospitality industry thriving as conventions return New Orleans

Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 6:26 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 8, 2022 at 5:05 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The world’s largest gathering of cancer researchers since the start of the pandemic is convening in New Orleans this weekend.

Tens of thousands of scientists and doctors will return to the Morial Convention Center for the American Association for Cancer Research conference.

“They’re bringing 14,000 attendees to New Orleans, from 73 countries. They’re gonna fill up about 30 different hotels. Fill up our convention center, restaurants, shops, and attractions. And we think there’s going to be about a $16 million economic impact,” said Kelly Shulz with New Orleans & Co.

“So those convention groups are a critical part of our economy. We’ve really missed having them in the city in such large numbers. So we’re really honored to welcome the cancer researchers to the city,” she said.

Area businesses are already feeling that impact, like Brennan’s Restaurant in the French Quarter.

“We are fully booked now until the middle of May,” said Brennan’s General Manager, Christian Pendleton.

The pandemic has forced the restaurant to close three days a week because staffing is still an issue. But the cancer research convention will help fill tables and wallets.

“We have about 24 events that I can associate with this convention that is filling us in over this weekend and through Monday night. We have five events just Monday night that are directly related. So that’s great for the staff,” said Pendleton. “It allows them to make a little extra money, as everyone is trying to dig themselves out of what has been a crazy last couple of years.”

Hotels are excited for the convention’s comeback as well.

“Any business that comes into the city, it’s great to be able to work together and bring it to the Four Seasons,” said Mali Carow, General Manager at the Four Seasons Hotel.

Carow said hotel rooms and restaurant reservations are almost sold out for the weekend.

“Whether our guests are staying here or coming to our restaurants or bar, it’s exciting to see the city open again. You can see it not just in our guests but our employees are just so happy to be back,” she said.

It’s just the beginning of a busy convention schedule with more to come in the months ahead.

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