People Increasingly Want to Be in that Number

NOLA tourism breaking records

The results are in and 2016 was another year of growth in the tourism sector for New Orleans. Both visitation and visitor spending increased according to the annual New Orleans Area Visitor Profile study.

The study, conducted by the University of New Orleans (UNO) Hospitality Research Center on behalf of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (NOCVB) and New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC) shows consecutive increases since 2009.

In 2016, visitor spending in New Orleans rose 5.1 percent to $7.41 billion dollars, breaking the record set in 2015. NOLA also hosted an historic 10.45 million visitors in 2016, the highest since 2004 and a 6.9 percent increase compared to 2015.

“The results of last year’s survey demonstrate that we are not just continuing the visitation and visitor spending growth we have delivered over the past seven years, but we have now posted historic highs in both categories,” said Stephen Perry, president and CEO of NOCVB

Perry touted the work of the NOCVB in targeting the combination of convention business and leisure travelers through marketing efforts such as paid media, earned public relations exposure and targeted special events built to promote New Orleans as a destination.

He also spoke directly to how these numbers translate into economic impact and stated, “As (Louisiana) continues to grapple with budget deficits, the New Orleans tourism industry grows ever stronger, adding to our economy much needed jobs and tax revenues.”

Expanding on the marketing efforts on behalf of New Orleans to specifically attract non-convention tourism, Mark Romig, president and CEO of NOTMC, said that its strategies are successfully providing dividends to the NOLA economy.

Romig said that for 2017, NOTMC will “continue to work side by side with our industry partners, especially the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, the NOCVB and the Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association, to reach as many potential visitors as possible with our creative messaging.”

NOTMC campaigns include #FollowYourNOLA and #HappyTuesday, which have made a definite impact on tourism in New Orleans, especially through social media strategies and the innovative New York City subway station advertising project.

Foundational pillars for tourism are evident according to Dr. John Williams, dean of the College of Business Administration at UNO. He noted the quality of NOLA’s restaurants, hotels, sporting events, convention center, festivals, museums and other attractions all offer tourists reasons to see New Orleans as a desirable destination.

Williams said, “This combination of attributes provides an extremely strong competitive edge as New Orleans sets new benchmarks for tourism visitation and spending.”

This time of year continues to be the biggest draw. The second quarter of 2016 accounted for 28.5 percent of the year’s visitors, owing to French Quarter Fest, Jazz Fest, conventions, spring break and the weather.

Breaking the pre-Katrina milestone of 10.1 million visitors in 2004 has long been a goal of the city and organizations like NOCVB and NOTMC. With the new record of 10.4 million annual visitors, NOLA has a new target to reach for 2017.


Categories: Tourism Biz