Locals help boost economy during slow tourism season

Published: Aug. 3, 2013 at 8:48 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2013 at 2:48 AM CDT
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New Orleans, La - Having Satchmo Festival and White Linen Night on the same day is helping the tourism industry combat the heat for this weekend. However, Convention and Visitors Bureau officials say it's up to locals to push the economy forward through most of August and September.

"Every destination has a slower period of time. For New Orleans, that's August and September," said Kelly Shulz of the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Though, you'd never know it with the jam-packed hotels and tourist filled festivals this weekend. Those from out of town were taking advantage of summer deals like the Coolinary promotion for discounted dining.

"It's very reasonable. It's a reasonable city to travel to for sure," said Ryan Smith from Augusta Georgia.

It's not just reasonable for our guests. Shulz wants each of us to think like a tourist for the next few months.

"It's great to enjoy New Orleans and to make memories with your family but it's really about helping drive the economy and drive the tourism industry which is the lifeblood of our community," said Shulz.

Schulz says 78,000 people in New Orleans have jobs because of the tourism industry. She says in 2012, nine million visitors spent six billion dollars.

Festivals like Satchmo keep that amount growing.

Those who sold tickets at the festival said they saw a good mix of locals and people from out of town. They sold more tickets this year because they opened on Friday for the first time.

"Every year this has grown and grown, and adding a Friday this year really helped get more locals out," said Kenny Truxillo of French Quarter Festivals, Inc.

Locals like April Lee, who describes the festival as a stay-cation - a vacation where you stay near home.

"They're always throwing festivals. It doesn't matter if you're coming from way up north way from the west, east. Down here, we always like to make you feel at home, even if you are at home," said Lee.

Schulz said the Fall convention calendar is up nearly 60% compared to last year.