Over 9 million tourists visited New Orleans last year. That’s the 2nd most visitors to our city ever, right under our record of over 10 million tourists in one year (1). The $4 billion those 9 million tourists spent in our city last year was a record.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu wants to increase the number of tourists that visit our city annually by over 50% and he wants to accomplish that by the city’s 300 year anniversary in 2018. That’s an increase of nearly 1 million visitors a year or nearly 100,000 more a month or roughly 3,000 more tourists everyday!
Can it be done? Consider this: Las Vegas, Nevada gets nearly 40 million tourists a year. Orlando Florida, home of Disneyworld, gets nearly 50 million visitors annually. So New Orleans and the mayor’s goal of 15 million annual visitors doesn’t seem so far fetched.
But how do we get there? Tourism officials have been trying to make New Orleans more of a family destination for years. We also continue to fight for our share of the lucrative convention market.
The mayor and his staff have an ambitious goal of increasing the number of tourists that visit our city and I applaud them for having such a goal. But how we go from 9 million tourists a year to 15 million is anybody’s guess.