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 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.
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 by $1.1 billion (23.6 percent) 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, trade show, 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.
Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau said, “For the New Orleans hospitality industry and all of its private and public partners, it is energizing to see such strong results. 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. The addition of 800,000 visitors gives the city tremendous momentum that we want to keep growing in the coming years.”
Perry continued, ” However, what happens in New Orleans does not stay in New Orleans … all of Louisiana will benefit. Travel and tourism is the seventh highest employer in Louisiana and one out of 10 Louisiana jobs depend on this vital industry. Tourism is the only industry that generates such a high return – for every one dollar invested in marketing and promotion of Louisiana, $17 is returned to the state. ”
The 2010 New Orleans Area Visitor Profile report also found:
76.1 percent of visitors had an income over $50,000 with 35.2 percent over $100,000
39.1 percent of New Orleans visitors were in town for the first time; repeat visitation increased from 58.4 percent in 2009 to 60.9 percent in 2010
Visitation from top feeder markets outside of Louisiana were: Texas, California, Florida, Mississippi and New York
Visitors age 50-64 made up the largest demographic for 2010 visitors (35.4 percent) followed by 35-49 (32.2 percent), 25-34 (18.4 percent) and 18-24 (5.2 percent ) and 65 and older (8 percent)
Overnight visitor stays in New Orleans went from 4.3 in 2009 to an average of 4.1 nights in 2010
The proportion of overnight visitors staying in a hotel remained steady at 57.7 percent.
Average party size held steady at 3.1 people
The majority of visitors who stayed in a hotel made reservations through the hotel website (34 percent), a travel agent (22.6 percent), or a travel website (20.5 percent). 7.6 percent of visitors called their hotel directly, while 6.1 percent used association housing during their stay in New Orleans.
The majority of New Orleans area visitors surveyed arrived by airplane (52.2 percent) or in their personal vehicle (40.2 percent)
90.2 percent of visitors who indicated that a cruise was the primary purpose of their trip extended their trip on average 2.4 nights