Here in New Orleans, we have charged into 2014 and are poised to continue incredible growth and progress. As the last year came to an end, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and tourism industry leaders gathered together to acknowledge and celebrate a year of incredibly positive tourism accolades and statistics for our city. Tourism is New Orleans’ largest industry and is immensely important to our success on the whole, so the statistics they revealed are very enlightening and relevant to the lives of all New Orleanians. If a large part of our economy is being fueled by tourism, as citizens, we should be invested in and aware of its progress.
In the last couple years, we have seen some of the highest visitor counts in the history of our city. In 2012, 9 million visitors came to New Orleans, the highest since Katrina, and once the official numbers for 2013 are tallied, we are sure to discover similar success. Last year, New Orleans’ hosting Super Bowl XLVII drove an estimated $480 million in spending. Additionally, Essence Festival saw the highest attendance to date with 540,000 people, not to mention the fact that 400 festivals were held in New Orleans last year.
Not only have people been visiting New Orleans in droves, but they have been singing our praises. From travel awards to recognition of our growth and strong culture, the accolades have been pouring in. Only two months into the year, we have already seen several examples of positive press and recognition, including being named by Australia’s Flight Centre as one of the “Top Destinations for 2014” (NOLA is the only U.S. city to make the list), Coastal Living magazine including a trip to New Orleans as one of the “Six Trips That Will Change Your Life” and readers of USA Today and 10Best voting New Orleans as one of the “10 Best Romantic North American Getaways.”
These statistics mean that our economy is getting stronger through tourism, and in addition to the tax revenue for infrastructure that income affords us, every dollar that enters our economy is spent several times over throughout the city before leaving; tourism dollars make their mark on every aspect of New Orleans life, one way or another. Here’s to 2014 being our strongest year to date. Let’s support each other and our city by supporting tourism in New Orleans.