NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A new report shows an increase in cruise passengers at the Port of New Orleans in 2012 has resulted in huge gains in spending too.
A report, released this week by Cruise Lines International Association, says cruise terminals in the city handled a record 977,703 passengers in 2012, up 32 percent compared to 2011's record of 736,908. It also found cruise industry spending in Louisiana grew 42.5 percent to $399 million, generating 7,548 jobs, compared to 5,512 jobs in 2011. Those jobs resulted in $294 million in income, up 39 percent, compared to the same period a year ago.
CLIA's figures, based on data compiled by Business Research and Economic Advisors, rank New Orleans as the sixth-largest cruise port in the United States, up from the ninth spot in 2011.
Port officials also retained BREA to determine passenger and crew spending in the New Orleans region. The study found more than 80 percent of cruise passengers are from out of state and 60 percent of them spend an average of two nights in New Orleans either before or after their cruise. That figure is up from 50 percent in 2010, the last year the port measured passenger and crew spending.
In addition, those passengers and shipboard crew spent $78.4 million in 2012, with lodging ($27.5 million) and food and beverage ($8.3 million) encompassing more than half of the overall spending.
"We market cruising from New Orleans as two vacations in one," Port of New Orleans President and CEO Gary LaGrange said. "New Orleans is a true destination city and cruise passengers see us as an additional port-of-call."
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