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Despite rising COVID cases, New Orleans tourism stays strong into NYE weekend

Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 9:48 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Many people are choosing to spend the New Year’s weekend in New Orleans.

Tourism group New Orleans & Company said this weekend is looking to be one of the busiest weekends so far this year-- despite any concern over COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.

With New Year’s Eve and lots of events taking place, many people are still coming to the city. The increase in tourism is helping the hospitality industry.

Viviane Friedman of The Pontchartrain Hotel said the rising number of COVID cases hasn’t really had much of an impact on business so far at this point.

She said very few people canceled their reservations.

“We are expecting to be sold out,” said Friedman. She expects the hotel to be completely booked up by the end of the week.

“It’s a total turnaround. I mean we had less than 50% occupancy last year and it was not looking great. People were not vaccinated, they could not enjoy, so yes, this year is already better,” she said.

Even the restaurants inside the Pontchartrain are seeing an increase in traffic. Tables are reserved and tickets are sold out for the big holiday weekend.

“Everything is different from last New Year’s Eve,” said Mary Beth Romig with New Orleans & Company. “Just the fact that we’re going to have a Superdome full of people and busy restaurants, busy hotels. This is what we need.”

Romig said hotel occupancy across the city is high, if not almost at capacity; sitting around 90%. While people want to visit New Orleans, Romig said there is still concern with COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.

“This is our measure so we can have Mardi Gras. I mean, a lot of things happen in succession so we’re hoping that all goes well that people will follow protocols.”

For an industry that has faced many challenges over the last two years, this weekend is sure to bring a much welcomed sense of normalcy.

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