"Hotels continue to significantly impact business recovery and growth post Katrina. Overall we are pleased with the progress and the contributions of our industry. Hotel property and room inventory are steadily moving back to pre-Katrina levels. Hotel investments have exhibited a clear and steady growth and the tax base that we provide has been consistent and growing since just a few weeks after the storm," said Sawyers.
According to statistics compiled and analyzed by Dr. John Williams, Director of the University of New Orleans's Lester E. Kabacoff School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Administration, hotel occupancy rates have maintained fairly consistent levels especially in light of the fact that the industry is gradually adding back its hotel rooms stock from the low level of 22,598 immediately following the storm, to more than 31,000 today.
Williams said, "It is a credit to the hoteliers and their partners, the Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Tourism Marketing Corporation. The hotel and hospitality industry was the first to recover post Katrina. This industry played two important roles. Hotels accommodated essential storm related visitors and locals in need of housing and at the same time segued back to their traditional markets. It was an enormous and significant juggling act - that demonstrated a tremendous commitment to the community and the industry."