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New Orleans begins to shake off legacy of Katrina

23 Apr 2008

The recovery of the New Orleans tourism industry continued in 2007 as travellers began to return to the city that was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina two years earlier.

New Orleans' 2005 summer season was blighted by the hurricane, which hit a number of states in the southern United States in August of that year.

The Louisiana city's tourism industry felt the after-effects of the disaster in 2006, with 3.7m visitors throughout the year, but this almost doubled to 7.1m in 2007, according to research by the University of New Orleans and local tourism associations.

This figure is still short of the number of visitors that New Orleans would expect to see on a healthy year prior to Hurricane Katrina, which was between 8.5m and 9m.

Sandra Shilstone, chief executive of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, said: 'We learned from research that we needed to reach as many people as possible as quickly as possible to convince them to return post-Katrina.

'We will continue to use all of our efforts in marketing, public relations and internet to work with the hospitality community in bringing leisure visitor numbers even higher than before.'

New Orleans' tourism industry started 2008 strongly, with events including an NBA All-Star basketball game, the Mardi Gras festival and a citywide convention providing an early boost in visitor numbers.

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