New Orleans’ Tourism Registers Growth

New Orleans has announced that it hosted 4.9 million visitors in the first half of 2012, an increase of 2% over the same period in 2011. These visitors spent a total of $3.45 billion, a boost of 11% over January to June 2011. These figures are the result of the 2012 University of New Orleans (UNO) Hospitality Research Center's 2012 New Orleans Area Visitor Profile, commissioned by the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (NOCVB) and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC).

Of the 4.9 million visitors to date, 74.1% were visiting New Orleans for vacation/pleasure, 14.3% attended conventions, associations, corporate meetings and/or trade shows, and 11.7% were in New Orleans for general business. Of all visitors, 50% stayed in a hotel, while 26.6% were visiting friends and relatives. The average number of nights stayed by visitors was 4.1 nights.

On the spending front, per-trip expenditures among visitors were up in all categories except for shopping. The largest jump in per-trip expenditures was in bars and nightclubs, with a 27.2% increase from the same period in 2011, and in lodging, with a 18.1% increase from 2011. More than half of business visitors to the New Orleans area (60%) extended their stay for pleasure for an average 2.1 days.

Tourism is one of New Orleans' largest employers. According to UNO's research for the full year 2011, New Orleans welcomed 8.75 million visitors, and visitor spending hit $5.47 billion, a significant increase over 2010 and the highest spending in the city’s history.

The momentum achieved by New Orleans’ tourism industry in 2012 comes as city prepares to host Super Bowl XLVII in February 2013, the 2013 NCAA Women’s Final Four and the 2014 NBA Men’s Allstar Game.

Ritz Carlton New Orleans

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