National events along with new hotel and flight offerings will make the South an attractive destination this year, according to online travel company Orbitz Worldwide, which recently released its predictions for the top travel hotspots of 2013.For a recap of last week's top stories, check out MeetingNews Minute:
Along with New Zealand — which it predicts will be popular among Americans in search of scenery from Peter Jackson's new "Hobbit" film trilogy — Orbitz forecasts that New Orleans and Charleston, S.C., will be teeming with travelers in the months ahead.
New Orleans will be big this year, Orbitz predicts, because it will host Super Bowl XLVII and the NCAA Women's Final Four, not to mention its usual lineup of food, music and lifestyle festivals. Additionally, it will benefit from expanded flight and hotel options, as well as a $90 million road improvement project.
"We expect 2013 to be a banner year for travel in New Orleans thanks to a diverse lineup of events, new hotels like the Hotel Indigo in the Garden District and major airlines adding nonstop service," said Jerrold Broussard, New Orleans destination expert and regional director for Orbitz Worldwide.
Like New Orleans, Charleston will benefit this year from several high-profile events, as well as the addition of new flight options — namely JetBlue, which is adding direct flights from New York and Boston in late February.
"The city is known for its rich history, well-preserved architecture, a thriving restaurant community and southern hospitality," said Robyn Rice, Charleston destination expert and regional director for Orbitz Worldwide. "In October 2012, the Charleston area was named both Top U.S. City and Top Destination in the World by Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards. From the Pro Am golf tournament in March, to the state's first multi-port billfishing tournament in June, there are also activities for all outdoor enthusiasts throughout the year."