Tourists in New Orleans spent a record $6 billion on museums, festivals, parades and food and drink last year. The new record is over $1 billion more than the previous record of $4.8 billion set back in 2004.
Over nine million people visited the city last year to enjoy the many attractions New Orleans has to offer. According to John Williams, head of the University of New Orleans’ Hospitality Research Centre, tourists are returning to places they have already visited before to spend more time in the destination, instead of heading straight to the Big Easy’s famous French Quarter.
"A few years ago they were going to the French Quarter, Bourbon Street, Cafe Du Monde, and Jackson Square... I think we've really turned a corner as far as how we're viewed nationally and internationally," said Mr Williams.
Speaking on the rise of popularity in attractions other than the French Quarter, Mr Williams said that tourists were “coming back to spend more time at such attractions as the National World War II Museum, the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Audubon Zoo and Audubon Aquarium, the Children's Museum, and both fine and casual restaurants.”
Visitor numbers to New Orleans last year were the highest since Hurricane Katrina hit the city. According to a study commissioned by the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp, 59 per cent of all visitors to New Orleans in 2012 had visited the city before.