Bourbon Street in New Orleans
The crowds have returned to Bourbon Street


New Orleans tourism is continuing its post-Katrina resurgence in 2011. Despite the gloomy economic conditions facing most of the country, travelers have been boarding flights to New Orleans in droves. The Crescent City welcomed 4.8 million visitors through the first half of 2011; that’s up 7.7% from the same time period in 2010.


And travelers are spending in the Big Easy like nobody’s business. According to the University of New Orleans Hospitality Research Center, visitors spent $3.1 billion through the first half of the year, with overall spending up 10% from January through June 2010.


While the physical numbers point to a resurgence, the city is about to get a more symbolic victory this week as well. The Hyatt Regency New Orleans is set to open Wednesday for the first time since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city back in 2005.


The refurbished 1,193 room hotel has undergone a $275 million makeover since serving as ground zero for rescue workers and storm victims in the days and weeks following landfall.


Source: USA Today

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