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New Orleans achieves major tourism milestone

 

Convention Center

The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.

New Orleans’ tourism industry has achieved a major milestone, welcoming 8.3 million visitors in 2010, a 10.7 percent increase over 2009, and the first time to reach 8 million visitors since Hurricane Katrina.

Those 8.3 million visitors spent $5.3 billion, a $1.1 billion increase over 2009 and the highest spending in the city’s history, according to a study released today.


“Coming out of the strong economic downturn, and on top of the difficult perception challenges created by the BP oil spill, the city hosted multiple attendance record-breaking conventions, festivals, had strong leisure and transient results and ended the year as the number one fastest-growing destination in the country for hotel performance,” said Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The 2010 New Orleans Area Visitor Profile survey is conducted by the University of New Orleans (UNO) Hospitality Research Center for New Orleans destination marketing partners.

Key findings include:
•   Visitation increased by 800,000 (10.7 percent) from 7.5 million people in 2009 to 8.3 million in 2010
•   Visitor expenditures increased from $1.1 billion in 2009 to $5.3 billion in 2010
•   Vacation/pleasure visitors spent an average of $569 per trip or $142 per day
•   77.7 percent of visitors surveyed were in New Orleans for vacation/pleasure
•   22.3 percent of visitors surveyed were in New Orleans for a convention, association, tradeshow, corporate meeting or general business travel
•   47.9 percent of business travelers extended their stay for pleasure for an average of 2.1 days
•   The number of visitors age 25-34, a demographic New Orleans began targeting more aggressively in 2010, saw an increase from 15.4 percent in 2009 to 18.4 percent in 2010

Tourism is New Orleans’ most important economic engine, employing 70,000 people and pumping $5 billion in new capital into the city each year, more than any other business sector. Domestic and international visitors spent $9.3 billion in the state of Louisiana in 2010.

“For the New Orleans hospitality industry and all of its private and public partners, it is energizing to see such strong results,” said Perry. “The addition of 800,000 visitors gives the city tremendous momentum that we want to keep growing in the coming years.”

 

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