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Big tourism turnout expected for the end of the year

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

With a growing list of new events and a slate of big games, New Orleans is a hot destination for the holidays.

Downtown New Orleans and the French Quarter are all decked out for the holidays, gearing up for what local tourism officials say is one of the busiest times of the year.

"This time of year between Thanksgiving and the Sugar Bowl, New Years Day, you're seeing tens of millions of dollars, perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars spent on everything from hotels to restaurants to attractions," President and CEO of New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation Mark Romig said.

But it's not just holiday season in new Orleans that brings in the visitors, its football season. This Saturday kicks off the first of three big weekends in the Superdome.

"We expect a very busy weekend for not only the New Orleans Bowl which is coming up this weekend, but then you have the Allstate Sugar Bowl which is hosting the college football playoff," Romig said.

Romig said they're expecting a large turn out, especially for the Sugar Bowl, which this year is part of the BCS playoff.

"So that weekend is going to be even longer because that game is on a Monday night. So you'll have people coming in as early as Thursday and Friday and staying all the way over till Tuesday," Romig said.

Some visitors already in town for for a softball tournament, are taking it all in.

"We're going to catch up with one of the tours in the city, because some of our guys haven't really done that. We're going to meet up with another player and do one of the city walking tours. Well, we're going to have some french doughnuts first. That's really important," Tony Plaza said.

Romig said they have also been promoting New Orleans as a great destination for the holidays.

"It's an economic driver. This is a great shot in the arm for businesses, for the retailers, for the hoteliers, for the restaurant tourists, for the people who run the attractions," Romig said.

A boost he says is a great way to start the New Year.

Romig said several years ago, New Orleans was listed as one of the top three holiday destinations, and believes the city is still in that ranking.

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