Carnival season benefits Jefferson Parish hotels

METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - Even when Carnival parades aren't rolling in Jefferson Parish, hotels are benefiting.

The season is great for the parish lodging industry.

"We're topping at 8,000 hotel rooms in Jefferson Parish. You know, tourism in Jefferson Parish is nearly a $2 billion industry," said Violet Peters, President of Jefferson's Convention and Visitors Bureau.

She said occupancy rates for the last weekend of Carnival are impressive.

"Friday and Saturday are strong nights where a lot of our properties are already sold out for Friday and Saturday night, and Sunday is strong. Things open up, starting on Sunday and Monday and Tuesday," Peters said.

"It could be more expensive downtown for sure, yeah," said Geoff Adeney of Canada, who is staying at the Sheraton Hotel in Metairie.

Adeney plays with a band called Prime Time Brass.

"This is kind of more central for us. We do parades in Metairie also...We usually go down on St. Charles Avenue to downtown, and we interact with the people, play for them, and everybody has a great time," he said.

Peters said Jefferson Parish hotels have a carrot that many New Orleans hotels may not.

"Obviously, our rates are one of the things that make our properties attractive. But in addition to that, a lot of our hotels have less restrictive minimum night stays, or some of them have no minimum night stays, so that's a lot more attractive to visitors that can't spend the amount of time that some of the properties downtown may require," she said.

Tourists during the parade season spend a lot on lodging, restaurant meals and transportation.

"Twenty-four million almost a decade ago was the visitor survey that we got back as far as spending for the Mardi Gras season, so that is significant. We know that that number has grown dramatically over the last 10 years. So it's a big business. Carnival is very important to Jefferson Parish," said Peters.

And it's thought that tourists who stay in Jefferson during the Carnival season may return to the parish for other occasions.

"So those people who come and experience Jefferson over a Carnival season, they're coming back. It's really hard to track that when they come back to another family vacation or a tournament or things like that," Peters said.

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