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Tourists flock to New Orleans for July 4 weekend

As businesses open up, more and more people are itching to get out and travel.
Published: Jul. 2, 2021 at 6:09 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE)- People are on the move this July Fourth weekend-- filling airports around the country and right here in New Orleans. The summer heat and rain aren’t stopping tourists from visiting the city.

“We’re gonna eat, drink and shop,” said Missy Reeder, who is visiting from Tennessee. “We were off and why not? It was just a spur of the moment thing.”

Visitors from near and far are choosing to spend the July Fourth weekend in New Orleans, and it’s proving to be a good thing for business-- in what would otherwise be a slow time of the year.

“July is really moving along well. I think we’ll probably get to 70 percent occupancy in a month like July,” said Mark Wilson, General Manager of the Bourbon Orleans Hotel in the French Quarter.

Wilson said the hotel isn’t sold out of rooms for the holiday weekend but said he’s noticed an increase in leisure travel to the city.

“There’s just a lot of pent-up demand to travel, a lot of them are from the regional drive market coming over for the weekend,” he said.

Similar story at the popular Bourbon Street bar, Pat O’Brien’s. Owner Shelly Waguespack said she’s not expecting large crowds this weekend, but the bar is prepared for anything.

“Typically it’s one of our slower weekends, but we’re really hoping that locals are gonna want to come out to the Quarter and just hang out and go to bars and restaurants. And just walk around,” said Waguespack.

According to New Orleans & Company, hotels are seeing around 80 percent occupancy rates, even during the lulls of summer.

“It’s great for the attractions and it’s also helpful just to get this vitality and the vibrancy back into the city,” said Mark Romig with New Orleans & Co. “We’re very surprised and very happy to see the level of occupancy that we’re seeing this weekend.”

While hotel occupancy may be up, a spokesperson with Louis Armstrong Airport (MSY) said compared to July Fourth weekend in 2019, airplane seats into New Orleans are down nearly 23 percent. However, the airport expects Friday, July 2, to be the busiest day of the holiday weekend.

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