National Geographic names New Orleans top spot to visit in 2014
New Orleans -- The Crescent City is named one of the top 20 cities in the world to visit in 2014. The huge distinction comes from National Geographic Magazine and tourism experts locally hope it'll bring more people here for the holidays.
Less than a week before Thanksgiving, and the French Quarter is already filled with the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers and tourists. Beth Lawrence from Houston says, "We love the food, we love to shop. I come here to buy Christmas gifts, birthday gifts."
Bill Jefferson from New Jersey adds, "There's some energy here, for sure there's energy here."
The quarter and other parts of the city are already decorated as city leaders work to put New Orleans best foot forward. Mark Romig with the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. explains, "Over the last several years we have really grown the impressions around the country that New Orleans is a great place to be. It's authentic, historical, great food, great hotels."
Romig says it always helps when the city is mentioned in major publications, but the National Geographic mention is extra special. New Orleans is the only city in the United States to be named a must see destination. Others in the list of 20 include Guyana, Northern Territory, Australia and Puglia, Italy.
National Geographic Traveler contributing writer Andrew Nelson says, "This is something that New Orleans should be very proud of. They don't actually give this out a lot."
Nelson penned the piece detailing what people should do and see in the city. He explains, "We believe that New Orleans' moment is now and that is why we chose it now. 2014 is going to be a wonderful year for New Orleans."
Tourism leaders hope the distinction will entice more people to visit. Already, there's a major campaign to get people to the area for Christmas. "We are showing television in various drive markets such as Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Memphis, Birmingham and we're also very aggressive in our social media so be the Facebook or Twitter, we're out there," Romig explained.
When visitors get here, there are plenty of free events to partake in. "You've got of course Celebration in the Oaks, you've got the wonderful Christmas concerts in St. Louis Cathedral, free cooking demonstrations in the French Market, shopping from Magazine all the way to the Bywater, Mid-City," said Romig.
Andrew Nelson says all of these unique, only in New Orleans type activities help make it one of the best cities, not in the U.S., but the world. And one that the national media, is certainly paying attention to.