In 2018, New Orleans welcomed 18.51 million visitors, a 4.29 percent increase in visitors compared to the previous year. The city also saw a 3.91 percent increase in total visitor spending of $9.1 billion according to D.K. Shifflet & Associates’ (DKSA) reporting.

The 2018 visitation study, commissioned by New Orleans & Company and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC), demonstrates consecutive increases in both visitation and visitor spending. These record numbers are consistent with those of the State of Louisiana, which last week reported 51.3 million visitors and $18.8 billion in visitor spending for 2018. Compared to 2017, those numbers reflect an increase of 9 percent in number of visitors and a 7 percent increase in visitor spending statewide.

“New Orleans continues to see steady growth in tourism numbers,” said Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans & Company. “Driven by the enhanced funding of the Tourism Support Assessment, and constant adherence to best practices in marketing and sales, we are consistently growing the number and spend of leisure, meetings and business travelers. As evidenced by the numbers, our tourism industry continues to drive the economy of greater New Orleans, create jobs for our citizens and enhance the quality of life for all New Orleanians.”

New Orleans’ cumulative 3.91 percent increase in spending activity from the previous year was seen in categories including:

  • Lodging spending increased by 18.44 percent (reaching $2.1 billion)
  • Entertainment and recreation increased by 0.27 percent (reaching $1.14 billion)
  • Food and beverage spending increased by 2.29 percent (reaching $2.1 billion)
  • Transportation spending also increased by 0.36 percent (reaching $2.68 billion)
    *Number reflects transportation bringing travelers in and out of destination

However, shopping spending did decrease by 1.69 percent totaling $871 million.

“These results underscore the critical importance of the tourism industry to our fragile economy, and the fact that none of this would be possible if not for the women and men who work tirelessly in the hospitality industry,” commented Mark Romig, President and CEO of NOTMC, the city’s official leisure travel promotion agency. “Visitor spending is the strategic fuel that directly affects jobs and grows business opportunities for our community, and we look forward to helping grow a healthier economy for all citizens in the year ahead.”

This is the second year New Orleans & Company and NOTMC are using DKSA’s visitor data collection services. The change was made from UNO’s visitation and visitor spending research in 2018 due to DKSA’s surveying methodology utilizing national standards. Using DKSA data allows New Orleans’ visitor numbers to compare with competitive destinations and align with the State of Louisiana visitor numbers.

New Orleans & Company is a nationally accredited, 1,100-member destination marketing organization and the largest and most successful private economic development corporation in Louisiana. New Orleans & Company and its members and partners influence thousands of decision-makers and millions of visitors to choose New Orleans through direct sales, marketing, public relations, branding, visitor services and local advocacy initiatives at our New Orleans headquarters and offices in Chicago, Columbia, SC, Washington, D.C., the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and China. Consistently recognized as one of the top five destination marketing organizations in the country, New Orleans & Company celebrates its 58th anniversary in 2018. For more information, please visit

New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC)
NOTMC promotes the city as a leisure tourism destination throughout the year. Annually, NOTMC’s marketing campaigns include strategic digital and broadcast TV advertising, social media and public relations. Websites:;; Social Media:;;;