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Professor to nation: "NOLA is open for business"

November 5, 2010

Bob Thomas, Ph.D., director of the Center for Environmental Communication and Loyola Chair of Environmental Communication, and other local leaders are heading up a massive media campaign designed to draw tourists back to Louisiana following the massive BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. According to the Louisiana Office of Tourism, who sponsored the campaign, the media outreach was undertaken because local tourism officials saw cancellations or postponements of 29 percent of existing reservations following the spill.

“One of the reasons for the cancellations is because people do not know what to expect,” said Thomas to KWYB–TV in Butte, Montana. “We get calls where people think they will come down here and see oil sitting on the edge of even New Orleans, much less down on the Louisiana coast. But in most areas of the state, there are no indications that it ever happened.”

Thomas joined famed restaurateur Ralph Brennan last week for a “satellite media tour” in telling news crews from across North America that there is no oil in New Orleans, our seafood has been tested and is safe to eat and that the area is open for business. In total, the effort gained over 3 million media impressions, with an advertising value of more than $200,000.

Thomas and Brennan are two of more than 70 civic leaders named to the Louisiana Office of Tourism’s Experts Bureau, created to have local leaders speak on behalf of the state’s tourism industry.

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Loyola at a Glance is written and distributed for the faculty, staff, students and friends of Loyola University New Orleans. It is published by the Office of Public Affairs, Greenville Hall, Box 909, 7214 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118. (504) 861-5888.

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