Tourism nears 18 million New Orleans visitors, $8.7 billion in spending for 2017

Posted on: May 8 2018

Advocate staff report - MAY 8, 2018 - 3:49 PM

Almost 18 million visitors traveled to New Orleans in 2017 and spent roughly $8.7 billion, a report shows.

Visitation was up 5.7 percent to 17.74 million, compared to a year earlier, while spending increased 6.0 percent, according to D.K. Shifflet & Associates’ research commissioned by the city’s leading tourism marketing organizations.

Last year, the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. began using DKSA’s visitor data collection services because the firm’s methodology is used by U.S. destinations that New Orleans competes with for visitors, officials said.

DKSA's data also is used by the state, which is reporting 47.1 million visitors and $17.5 billion in visitor spending for 2017. Compared to 2016, those numbers reflect an increase of nearly 500,000 visitors and a 4.1 percent increase in visitor spending statewide.

“New Orleans has seen steady growth in tourism numbers since 2009, consecutively surpassing our annual numbers in visitation and visitor spending each year," said Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau.

While DKSA numbers differ significantly from University of New Orleans figures previously used, the trajectory of year-over-year increases side by side is basically the same, Perry said.

The use of the DKSA numbers is not meant to imply a huge increase from the UNO numbers, he said, but reflects an accurate correlation and comparison with the Louisiana Office of Tourism’s numbers and those of fellow cities which also use DKSA.

Increased spending came in at 12.3 percent higher in lodging to $1.87 billion; 7.2 percent in entertainment and recreation to $1.1 billion; 8.3 percent in food and beverage to $2.1 billion; 3.8 percent in shopping to $885 million; and 1.7 percent in transportation to $2.7 billion.

“The results from 2017 demonstrate the unique position that New Orleans has in the mind of the discerning traveler,” said Mark Romig, president and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. “Combined with record-setting spending, the visitation results remind us the important role that the tourism economy plays in helping to build a stronger economy for New Orleans and the region.”  

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