Tourism, Hospitality and Convention Industry Facts One Year After Katrina

August 21, 2006

The soul of New Orleans is thriving, with our unique and authentic culture, it is very much alive – including our incomparable cuisine, music, visual arts, museums, galleries, the performing arts and other activities, led by the resilience and determination of the city’s residents. Tourism in New Orleans was one of the first industries to return after Hurricane Katrina and is leading the city’s recovery by providing 35 percent of the city’s operating budget.

Tourism is the lifeblood of thousands of businesses – as large as the Superdome, as small as a store on Royal Street or a po-boy shop. It employs 85,000 people, making it possible for New Orleanians to come home.

Promotion is to tourism what crude oil is to a refinery, what steel is to a shipyard.

The New Orleans Metropolitan CVB is committed to increasing awareness that New Orleans is a “tale of two cities” -- while many outlying neighborhoods will take years to rebuild, the tourism corridor is intact, thriving and welcoming visitors and business travelers everyday. The authentic New Orleans experience is alive.


  • The tourism industry is the largest employer in the metropolitan New Orleans area and the second largest industry in the state of Louisiana. It includes hotels, restaurants, retail, sporting arenas, music venues, museums, galleries and theaters, destination management companies and tour operators.
  • As the economic engine of New Orleans, tourism accounts for 35% of the City of New Orleans’ annual operating budget - $210 million paying for jobs, safety, transit, etc.
  • Without the money engineered by New Orleans tourism, the state would have to raise an additional $3,000 on every family in Louisiana in taxes to cover the deficit.
  • The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is the single most important manufacturing plant in the state, producing an enhanced quality of life.
  • Tourism generates $5 billion in visitor spending and more than $250-300 million in tax revenues.
  • The hotel tax provides $10.5 million to the Orleans Parish Public Schools operating budget and is the funding source of the bonds for the Superdome and the Convention Center.
  • Since Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana has lost more than $1 billion. Every 3 months results in a net loss of a $1.25 billion buying cycle in New Orleans.

An average convention delegate generates $1,500 for the local economy during his or her stay. Convention visitors stay longer in hotels, entertain more in restaurants and spend more money in retail shops in the French Quarter and along the Magazine Street corridor.

  • 2004 was a record breaking year for New Orleans tourism with 10.1 million visitors. We were on pace to exceed those numbers in 2005. We will have a more accurate measure of 2006 visitors when research begins in the fall.
  • Our motto is “seeing is believing.” Approximately 90 percent of travel agents, meeting planners and executives that recently conducted site inspections in New Orleans and see for themselves that the tourism corridor is intact, confirm or re-confirm business and become advocates for the city by encouraging their stakeholders to visit.


450 meetings and conventions were cancelled between Sept. 2005 and May 2006, worth 2.25 million room nights. Meetings are now back in New Orleans. For 2006, 40% of conventions booked before Katrina have been retained.

  • 2007 – 70% of conventions booked before Katrina retained
  • 2008 – 92%+ of conventions booked before Katrina retained

Louis Armstrong International Airport

As of August 7, 2006, the airport reports 111 flights serving 33 cities (64 % the number of daily departures and 77% the number of destinations; 13,185 seats or 59% of Pre-Katrina level of seats per day).

Airlines operating out of the Louis Armstrong International Airport include: Air Canada, Air Tran, America West, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Frontier Air, Jet Blue, Midwest, Northwest Air, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and U.S. Airways.


  • 103 of 140 metropolitan area hotels open, 90 of which are located in downtown New Orleans.
  • 28,000 of the 38,000 metropolitan wide hotel rooms are back in service.
  • Notable properties returning to service:
    • Ritz-Carlton Hotel December 2006
    • Hyatt Regency New Orleans Fall 2007


  • Louisiana Restaurant Association reports that there are over 700 restaurants open, including the restaurants in the French Quarter, downtown and the Warehouse Arts District.
  • 18 major new restaurants have opened in the metro area and are enjoying success.
  • Commander’s Palace is slated to reopen in the fall of 2006.


  • Partially reopened in February 2006
  • Majority of center reopened June 19 with 740,000+ sq. ft. of exhibit space, 99 meeting rooms, 4,000 seat auditorium and a 36,000 sq. ft. ballroom.
  • More than $60 million in renovations and upgrades are being made to the facility.
  • The remaining 4 halls, 41 meeting rooms and 32,000 sq. ft. ballroom will reopen in November 2006.


  • $168 million renovation and upgrades are being applied to the facility.
  • The Louisiana Superdome will reopen on September 25, 2006 with Monday Night Football when the Saints play the Atlanta Falcons.


  • Is fully-functioning and welcoming its first event back in March 2006.

Mardi Gras 2006 welcomed approximately 700,000 revelers, Jazz Fest welcomed more than 350,000 visitors.



  • Plantation Homes Majority/ re-opened Sept 2005
  • Mardi Gras World /re-opened Oct 2005
  • Café Du Monde/ re-opened Oct 2005
  • Cabildo State Museum /re-opened Oct 2005
  • New Orleans Historic Collection/ re-opened Oct 2005
  • Ogden Museum of Southern Art /re-opened Oct 2005
  • Audubon Zoo/ re-opened Nov 2005
  • National World War II Museum/ re-opened Dec 2005
  • Harrah’s Casino/ re-opened Feb 2006
  • Aquarium of the Americas /re-opened Jun 2006


Event /Date /Attendees

  • USA Volleyball/ May 2006 /5,000
  • Air & Waste Mgmt Assn/ Jun 2006 /3,000
  • Natl Assn of Collegiate Directors of Athletics/ Jun 2006 /1,500
  • American Library Association/ Jun 2006 /18,000
  • Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship/ Jul 2006 /11,000
  • American Psychological Assn /Aug 2006 /16,000
  • Society of Exploration Geophysicists /Oct 2006 /8,000
  • Amer Society for Human Genetics/ Oct 2006/ 6,000
  • Amer College of Emergency Physicians/ Oct 2006/ 6,000
  • Amer Society for Reproductive Medicine /Oct 2006 /6,000
  • Fed of Societies for Coatings Technology/ Nov 2006 /6,500
  • National Association of Realtors/ Nov 2006 /25,000


  • All major museums have reopened including:
  • New Orleans Museum of Art
  • Besthoff Sculpture Garden
  • The Ogden Museum of Southern Art
  • National World War II Museum
  • Contemporary Arts Center
  • Louisiana Children’s Museum
  • Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra
  • New Orleans Ballet


  • Major urban shopping destinations in the city include:
  • The Shops at Canal Place*
  • The Riverwalk
  • Jax Brewery
  • Royal Street and other French Quarter antiques
  • Miles of eclectic shops on Magazine street
  • Boutiques, art galleries and shops are open throughout the city.

*Saks Fifth Avenue expected to open in fall 2006.

Cruise Industry
The Delphin Renaissance, a 600-passenger luxury ship, was the first cruise ship to call on the Port of New Orleans in the post-Katrina era when it docked December 31, 2005 at the Thalia Street Wharf alongside the Port's Administration Building. The cruise industry will return to New Orleans in October 2006, including the Norwegian Cruise Lines and Carnival Cruise Lines. Royal Caribbean International returns in December, as does RiverBarge Excursion Lines.

Media Contacts:

Kelly Schulz /Mary Beth Romig

New Orleans Metropolitan Conventions & Visitors Bureau

504.566.5045 /504.566.5050

504.421.0962(c) /504.606.8430 /

Aug. 21 – 31: New Orleans Media Center, Gallery Room, Sheraton New Orleans