In 2015, visitors to New Orleans spent $7.05 billion dollars, a 3.5% increase compared to the visitor spending record set in 2014, and the city hosted 9.78 million visitors, a 2.7% increase compared to 2014, according to a statement from New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB.
The 2015 New Orleans Area Visitor Profile study, completed by the University of New Orleans (UNO) Hospitality Research Center for the CVB and New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC) shows increases in both spending and visitation since Hurricane Katrina.
The survey showed that overnight visitors to the New Orleans area who stayed in hotels spent an average of $1,011 per person, per trip in 2015.
Visitors stayed for an average of 4.2 nights and spent an average of $238 per person, per day, the study showed.
“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 Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“One of the key takeaways for us is the robust repeat visitor numbers. Only 37.1 percent of people responded that they were first time visitors in 2015, indicating that 62.9 percent are repeat visitors. And the comments were overwhelmingly positive with many promises to return for future visits,” said Mark Romig, President and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation.
In 2004, New Orleans welcomed 10.1 million visitors, who spent $4.9 billion. In 2006, after Hurricane Katrina, visitor numbers dropped to 3.7 million, with $2.9 billion in visitor spending. Due to the efforts of the New Orleans CVB and the NOTMC, visitor numbers have steadily increased, but more importantly, visitor spending has more than doubled since Katrina. Since 2010, visitation spending in New Orleans has increased by nearly 33%.
“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.
Cruise visitors comprised about 1.5 percent of the total number of visitor responses, and nearly all (83.5 percent) stayed in New Orleans before or after their cruise. The average number of nights in the city was 2.2