New Orleans Visitors Spent a Record $6.8 Billion in 2014
Photo by Tim Wood
Nearly a decade after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, the city is thriving like never before.
This week, a 2014 New Orleans Area Visitor Profile study revealed that the city welcomed 9.52 million visitors in 2014, nearly triple the amount of visitors recorded the year after Katrina struck (2006).
What's more, the study shows record visitor spending at $6.81 billion in 2014. By comparison, that figure is more than double what the city brought in during 2006.
While total visitors rose 2.6 percent from 2013, visitor spending increased 5.3 percent over the previous year.
"Year after year, New Orleans proves to be one of the best places in the world to visit," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu in a statement. "For the ninth consecutive year, New Orleans has seen a record-breaking increase in the number of visitors and their collective spending."
"Thousands of business owners, artists, producers, innovators and restaurateurs take pride in offering our visitors an authentic experience, even adding new options every year. New Orleans is on a roll and we're thrilled that visitors—leisure and business alike—across the globe are taking notice. This year, we look forward to welcoming visitors and friends for the Jazz Festival, Essence Festival, French Quarter Festival and more," added Landrieu.
The study—conducted by the University of New Orleans Hospitality Research Center for the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation—also found that nearly 70 percent of visitors who provided open-ended comments in the survey had positive feedback regarding the Big Easy.
Meanwhile, nearly half of those respondents (44.1 percent) planned to either return or recommend New Orleans to someone else. Roughly the same number of visitors (43.9 percent) acknowledged that they "love New Orleans."
While the percentage of first-time visitors dipped to 37.4 percent last year, nearly two-thirds of visitors (62.6 percent) indicated that their 2014 visit was a return trip.
UNO's study also broke down 2014's record visitor spending, with lodging spending (5.9 percent), entertainment spending (11.2 percent), shopping spending (5.7 percent), restaurant spending (2.9 percent) and spending in bars and nightclubs (3.9 percent) all increasing last year.
The Visitor Profile study also uncovered that more than 77 percent of surveyed visitors in 2014 were in town for vacation or pleasure, with the remaining 23 percent citing either general business or some form of association, convention, tradeshow or corporate meeting.
"The 2014 visitor numbers are a testament to our efforts that as a destination we are attracting the right type of visitor," said New Orleans CVB president and CEO Stephen Perry. "Visitor spend is the highest it’s ever been, driving economic growth and enriching the lives of every New Orleanian, especially the more than 80,000 New Orleanians who work in the tourism industry."
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