A river's edge view of the Crescent City.

The doors to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans open May 21-23 for the Coverings International Trade Show and Exhibition, an event that has forged a reputation as the largest and most diverse trade showcase in the Western Hemisphere for the ceramic tile and stone industry.

More than 20,000 visitors make the annual trek to Coverings to view the latest product and material innovations the industry has to offer. Companies from countries around the world convene for the three-day event, giving it an international flavor, as well as creating an opportunity to establish and re-affirm the relationships crucial to establishing a global business venture.

Attendees of Coverings 2001 will notice a marked difference at this year's event. Breaking from its traditional format, Coverings will take place during three days instead of four. According to Coverings' representatives, the decision by the show's board of governors currently applies only to the 2001 event. Scheduling decisions for future exhibitions will not be made until results and comments from this year's event are compiled.

Because of the change in the show's duration, Coverings' acclaimed global conference program, Vision 2001, formerly known as The Solution Source, which last year attracted more than 5,000 attendees, an 18% increase over the 1999 exhibition, will have new hours for the 2001 edition. Conferences will begin Sunday, May 20, the day before the exhibition hall opens, offering special seminars targeted directly at specific industry segments. From May 21-23, the conferences will be held in the morning hours before the exposition opens.

New Orleans' French Quarter.
Regarded as an integral part of Coverings' success, Vision 2001 focuses on products and strategies, and offers attendees the tools to achieve the fastest growth and highest profits in today's marketplace, according to show officials. The 2001 edition has been approved as a registered provider by the American Institute of Architects/Continuing Education System (AIA/CES). This approval results in many of the seminars becoming eligible for AIA-member learning units through the CES program, which emphasizes learning and enabling architects to keep up with current trends, and master new knowledge and skills.

With its strong emphasis on product education, Coverings 2001 promises to again lead the way in the exhibition and promotion of ceramic tile and natural stone. Add the cultural and traditional flavors of New Orleans to the mix, and out comes the recipe for success.