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
HISTORICAL VISITOR STATS
YEAR VISITOR NUMBER SPENDING
2009: 7.5 million visitors / $4.2 billion visitor spending
2008: 7.6 million / $5.1 billion
2007: 7.1 million / $4.8 billion
2006: 3.7 million/$2.8 billion
2005: July – December stats not available
2005: January-June: 5.3 million / $2.6 billion
2004: 10.1 million / $4.9 billion
2003: 8.5 million / $4.5 billion
This report presents the results of an online survey that collected data quarterly during 2010. The fourth quarter survey remained active until January 18, 2011. The e-mail addresses used were from those people who had inquired at the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau or New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation during 2010, or those who were intercepted by surveyors and provided their e-mail addresses. All addresses were only e-mailed once. A total of 5,343 usable responses were collected.
In an effort to balance any biases inherent in an online collection methodology, additional sources of data available to the HRC were also used. The additional sources include intercept survey data collected during 2010 events and festivals. Also included were intercept data from the WWII Museum, a TNS e-mail panel of visitors to New Orleans and a faxed-back hotel survey, which helps determine the volume of long-term hurricane-related visitors and the proper visitor mix.
When all data were combined, a total of 7,940 usable responses were in the data set. A phone survey of New Orleans residents was also completed to determine the number of people who had friends and relatives stay with them during 2010; this survey has been a part of the methodology since 1999.
The survey data were downloaded from the host site, SurveyMonkey.com, once the surveys were closed on January 18, 2011. Staff of the Hospitality Research Center edited the data for accuracy and logical consistency. Statistical software was then used to analyze the data from the visitor surveys.
The Hospitality Research Center at the University of New Orleans is a collaborative effort of the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Administration (HRT) and the Division of Business and Economic Research (DBER). Each faculty member of the School of HRT has broad experience in the tourism and hospitality industry and has extensive academic preparation. Working together, in cooperation with the quality professionals in the Division of Business and Economic Research, the UNO HRT/ DBER research program is consistently recognized for research productivity in the hospitality field. The function of the Hospitality Research Center is to provide a variety of research services to hospitality, travel and tourism organizations.