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New Orleans welcomes highest number of visitors in nearly 10 years

gtm-apr13-new-orleans-cvbCourtesy New Orleans CVB

NEW ORLEANS – The Crescent City has bounced back from Katrina and then some, with 9.01 million visitors traveling to New Orleans in 2012. These travelers spent a total of $6 billion, the most in the city’s history.

The total number of visitors in 2012 increased by three percent from 2011’s 8.75 million, while spending also rose nine percent. The 2012 New Orleans Area Visitor Profile study reveals research by the UNO Hospitality Research Center for the New Orleans CVB and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation.

Back in 2006, Katrina had caused visitor numbers to drop to 3.7 million from 10.1 million in 2004. After initial recovery efforts, the number rose to 7.1 million travelers in 2007.

“The continued growth of both visitor numbers and spending is a reflection of the hard work of our hospitality industry,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “I feel confident that we will continue the upward trajectory as we work toward the goal of welcoming 13 million visitors by 2018.”

About 73 percent of respondents who offered open-ended comments in the study provided positive feedback about the city, while 49 percent of them planned to return or recommend New Orleans to others.

“The results of the visitor study show that our visitors want to enjoy the full breadth of what New Orleans has to offer,” said John Williams, interim dean for the College of Business Administration at the University of New Orleans. “They are taking part in numerous activities and visiting several attractions throughout their stay. New Orleans is now recognized as a destination that offers an extraordinary experience every day of the year.”

Other study results:

•    Lodging spending increased by 17 percent
•    Restaurant spending increased by nine percent
•    Spending in bars and nightclubs increased by 10.4 percent
•    Entertainment/recreation spending increased by nine percent
•    76.1 percent of visitors surveyed were in New Orleans for vacation
•    Cruise visitors comprised 1.7 percent of total visitor responses. They stayed an average of two nights in New Orleans before or after their cruises.

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