The Power of Tourism in New Orleans

The New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is the driving catalyst for New Orleans' largest industry, strategically leading national and international marketing, public relations, and visitor services efforts that attract millions of visitors, events, conventions, and festivals that produce billions in economic growth, tens of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of taxes for the state and city.

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.

  • Cumulative 3.5% increase in spending activity was felt in all categories including lodging, entertainment, shopping, and restaurants
  • Overnight visitors to the New Orleans area who stayed in hotels spent an average of $1,011 per person, per trip in 2015
  • Visitors who stayed overnight in a hotel spent an average of $238 per person per day
  • Visitors who came to New Orleans for the day spent an average of $188 per person
  • 76.7% of visitors were in New Orleans for vacation/pleasure
  • Cruise visitors comprised 1.5% of the total numbers of visitor responses; of those, 83.5% stayed in New Orleans pre or post cruise

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"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."
-Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau

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"Simply put, New Orleans is on a roll. Once again, our city has proven to be one of the best places in the world to visit. For the tenth consecutive year, New Orleans has seen a record-breaking increase in the number of visitors that are contributing billions of dollars to our economy. Thousands of local business owners, artists, musicians, producers, innovators and restaurateurs take pride in offering an authentic experience. We keep things fresh and alive here and because of that, business and leisure visitors from across the globe are coming back year after year. This year is already off to a great start and we look forward to welcoming visitors for Essence Festival, the New Orleans Food and Wine Experience and the hundreds of other special events throughout the year."
-Mayor Mitch Landrieu

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"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."
-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."
-Dr. John Williams, Dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of New Orleans

One example of the NOCVB's strategy of attracting quality visitors is hosting IPW in June of this year. IPW is the travel industry's premier international marketplace and the largest generator of travel to the U.S. Between June 18 - 22, more than 1,000 U.S. travel organizations from every region of the USA (representing all industry category components), and more than 1,300 international and domestic buyers and 500 travel journalists from more than 70 countries will visit New Orleans to conduct business negotiations that result in the generation of more than $4.7 billion in future travel to the U.S. New Orleans expects to see an increase in international visitation for the next three years after hosting IPW this year. The international visitors that the NOCVB is appealing to are known to stay longer and spend more money.

Path of a Tourism Dollar Infographic 2