LT. GOV. LANDRIEU CONTGRATULATES TOURISM INDUSTRY AS NEW ORLEANS NAMED IN TRAVEL + LEISURE’S TOP TEN CITIES -- 07/11/2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LANDRIEU CONTGRATULATES TOURISM INDUSTRY
Overseas Visitors up 23%; Third Highest Growth Rate Among Top U.S. Destinations
Baton Rouge, La. – Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu congratulated the Louisiana tourism industry as the state put up strong overseas tourism numbers and New Orleans is ranked in Travel + Leisure Magazine’s Top Ten List of Best Cities in the United States and Canada.
“This prestigious recognition from Travel + Leisure Magazine, along with rising overseas tourism numbers, further demonstrates that Louisiana is an international competitor in the tourism industry,” said Landrieu.
Part of the Travel + Leisure Magazine’s “World’s Best Awards 2005,” the list will be featured in their August issue. Other cities include New York, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Chicago, Vancouver, Charleston, S.C., Quebec City, Montreal, and Victoria, B.C.
Landrieu added, “Working together as an industry, we are really making progress. People understand that Louisiana is not just Bourbon Street. Our state offers a truly unique experience with culture, family attractions and visitor services second to none.
According to recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI), the number of overseas visitors to New Orleans from 2003 to 2004 grew over 23 percent – the third-highest percentage of growth for the top 25 U.S. destinations.
New Orleans saw an estimated 244,000 visitors from overseas countries in 2004, up from 198,000 the prior year. The percentage change is 23.2 percent.
These numbers are for overseas tourists only – Canada and Mexico’s visitor statistics were not included in the OTTI report. An estimated 109,200 Louisiana visitors came from Canada in 2004.
“These overseas performance indicators show solid growth in international tourism without taking into account Canada, which is Louisiana’s top international tourism market,” said Angèle Davis, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism.
The growth is similar to percentage increases seen by Louisiana’s Tax Free Shopping program last year. The program, which refunds retail sales taxes to international visitors, tracks the number of refund transactions, retail sales and retail spending by foreign visitors. All three of those categories grew between 19.8 and 30.7 percent, according to Louisiana Office of Tourism statistics.
Foreign retail spending tied to Tax Free Shopping rose from $21.4 million in 2003 to $25.7 million last year, statistics said.
In 2004, Louisiana also saw increases in airport flights (5.6 percent), hotel rooms sold (5.1 percent) and gaming revenues generated (7.2 percent) compared to 2003 statistics, the Office of Tourism reported earlier this year.