NEW ORLEANS – Officials have withdrawn a proposal for the proposed Hospitality Zone in downtown New Orleans.
A joint statement from the Convention & Visitors Bureau, Morial Convention Center and Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association confirmed that the proposal has been withdrawn.
Melvin Rodrigue, the chairman of the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Convention Center, said new amendments killed the initiative.
"While we are disappointed in the new amendments to our bill, and it is true that they have effectively killed this very important marketing and infrastructure initiative for the time-being, and have undermined the rationale for our Convention Center's plans for an immediate $30 million injection into French Quarter infrastructure, our board will remain open to finding other ways it can partner with the Mayor and political leaders to improve our city and its role in the very competitive travel industry,” he said. “Our board is committed to that future partnership."
Vieux Carre property owners had spoken out against the legislation since its inception. They say the measure would have been too vague and would have consolidated too much power into a newly created Hospitality Board.
Officials said the current version of the proposal didn’t receive enough support from hotel members.
"The current version of the bill does not have the critically necessary support from our hotel members, the source of the vast majority of the new taxes," said the statement from Tod Chambers, president of the Hotel and Lodging Association.
"We were willing to shoulder a disproportionate share of the new taxes in order to provide much needed marketing support to the city's tourism industry, assist in the repair of infrastructure and grow our businesses," Chambers said.
"We will, however, continue to work with the administration and like-minded community leaders and neighborhood partners to search for ways to achieve what we all know our city deserves - more jobs, a growing economy and a city that works for not only our citizens but visitors as well."