Are Tourists Spooked of New Orleans?
Halloween brings in money, but mostly from locals.
We all know that New Orleans is one of the most haunted cities in the United States – and locals love to celebrate it.
The anticipation intensifies throughout the city as we creep closer to All Hallows Eve. Calendars are filled for weeks in advance – Krewe of Boo, Undead Conference, Boo at the Zoo, Frenchman Street Halloween Street Party, Boo Carre Halloween and Harvest Festival, Ghost in the Oaks – the list is endless.
So how much of an attraction are all these Halloween festivities to out of town visitors?
The Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana, Jay Dardenne believes it is great for the local economy, but it is not necessarily a tourist attraction for out-of-state visitors.
“It is great for the economy and business because people are buying candy, costumes, and they are throwing parties, so the ripple effect of Halloween is significant,” said Dardenne. “Halloween in and of itself though, is not an attraction for Louisiana that is going to bring out-of-state visitors to the state, because obviously everybody celebrates it.”
Smith Travel Research reported that in 2013, Halloween fell on a Thursday night with Voodoo Festival following immediately afterwards – the city’s hotel occupancy for that night was only 77.9 percent.
The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau is expecting 2014 to exceed that figure because Halloween falls on a Friday evening. The weekend also plays host to Voodoo Festival and a number of other smaller events scattered around town.
CEO and President of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, Mark Romig, said that festivities surrounding the holiday does in fact attract visitors to the haunted city.
“New Orleans has become one of the top Halloween destinations. I think it is one of the top five New Orleans holidays,” said Romig. “We have a unique Halloween offering because of the history, the city is almost 300 years old, and a lot of spirits have come through our city in the past three centuries.”
And with those spirits, a lot of stories that leave even the biggest sceptic’s a little on edge on All Hallows Eve as New Orleans comes to life.