Record-Breaking Numbers Reported

New Orleans tops 2014 in visitor spending
Jeff Anding

New Orleans is on a winning streak when it comes to tourism numbers. And as fans of baseball and “Bull Durham” know, you never, ahem, mess with a winning streak.

The 2015 New Orleans Area Visitor Profile has been released and it reports that visitors in 2015 spent $7.05 billion, an increase of 3.5 percent, thereby breaking 2014’s record year. The number of visitors increased as well, going up 2.7 percent to 9.78 million visitors.

The annual study was completed by the University of New Orleans Hospitality Research Center for the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC). Numbers reported over the past 10 years show continual growth since Katrina.

“We are in a strong tourism growth curve stimulated by new investment in expanded marketing and sales fueling our fiercely competitive battle to draw leisure visitors, conventions and major special events. We are not only attracting more visitors, but more quality visitors, as evidenced by the solid increase in visitor spending to record levels. And with our state facing massive budget deficits and recession in a number of our traditional economic sectors, our greater New Orleans tourism industry is firmly entrenched as the state leader in job creation, state and local tax generation, and as the rapidly expanding catalyst for strong economic growth and opportunity that benefits every other business sector and the quality of life and state services for every Louisianan,” said Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans CVB.

Other numbers show a strong tourism and hospitality industry as well. In 2015, overnight visitors who stayed in hotels spent an average of $1,011 per person, per trip. Their stays lasted an average of 4.2 nights and they individually spent an average of $238 per person, per day. Since Katrina, visitor spending has increased by nearly 33 percent.

“The tremendous increase in visitor spending in New Orleans over several years is evidence that the city has become widely recognized for the elevated quality of its unsurpassed restaurants, hotels, festivals, and attractions. The ongoing strength of this heightened spending trend is confirmed by the key indicators of growth in the research study results,” said Dr. John Williams, dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of New Orleans.

The report’s release is in conjunction with National Travel and Tourism Week. Events are scheduled across the country, and how else would New Orleans kick it off than with a second line? The parade through the French Quarter was led by Perry, as well as Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. New Orleans hospitality workers paraded with a brass band, floats and local groups including the Black Storyville Baby Dolls, Camel Toe Lady Steppers, Krewe of the Rolling Elvi and Pussyfooters.

It’s especially important to note the participation of the hospitality workers. According to the New Orleans CVB, more than 86,000 New Orleanians are employed in the industry.



Categories: Tourism Biz