New Orleans’ tourism industry is at a record high, according to new data from the 2013 New Orleans Area Visitor Profile study. The study shows that the city welcomed 9.28 million visitors in 2013, an increase of 3 percent, or about 272,000 people, from ’12 (9.01 million). The 9.28 million visitors spent $6.47 billion, a 4.5 percent increase over ’12 and the highest spending in the city’s history, according to the study.

After Hurricane Katrina, visitor numbers dropped greatly; the city hosted only 3.7 million in 2006, with $2.8 billion in visitor spending. Through the combined efforts of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC), visitor numbers increased to 7.1 million in ’07 with $4.8 billion in spending, and have continued rising since.

 “The people, culture, food and entertainment in New Orleans are arguably the best in the world,” says Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “We take pride in offering our visitors an authentic experience and are adding new options every year, so it’s no surprise that the city is continuing to see record breaking visitor numbers. New Orleans is on a roll and we’re thrilled that visitors across the globe are taking notice.”

“The traveler economy at its core is about driving economic growth and enriching the lives of people. The more than 9 million visitors in 2013 pumped a record of $6.47 billion in spending directly into our city,” says Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans CVB. “That money contributes greatly to state and local economies and supports jobs for more than 78,000 New Orleanians from every neighborhood.”

“We love our city. We love our way of life. And so do millions of visitors. The 2013 report shows that visitors are exploring more and more of our city and experiencing our unique culture and neighborhoods from the Bywater to Mid-City to the Riverbend,” said Mark Romig, President and CEO of NOTMC. “We are working together with city administration and business leaders to continue this growth in visitation and bringing tourism jobs and activities to areas of the city that could use our industry’s economic support.”

The 2013 New Orleans Area Visitor Profile study was completed by the University of New Orleans (UNO), Hospitality Research Center for the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC).