New Orleans summer doldrums are officially here. Hurricane season, too.
As I write this, there’s a possible tropical storm brewing in the Gulf—or is it a subtropical depression? One never knows the reality of what the TV weather people know or don’t know, as evidenced by the “sub-tornado” that Bayou Boogaloo experienced on the Friday of the event that blasted all the food and art vendors into Bayou St. John and flooded Mid-City. There was a prediction of a 30 percent chance of rain that day. Yeah, right.
It’s a part of the local business consciousness that summers in New Orleans are slow. Everyone hunkers down, waiting for the heat to roar in full force, and the relative dearth of visitors to New Orleans, except for association and church and school meetings. The big-money groups usually don’t come to New Orleans in the blazing hot summer, which is one reason Essence Fest is so welcome in July.
The statistics for visitors to New Orleans are up, year after year. I would like to know how many visitors come from outside the U.S., what countries they come from, and what time of year they come. I’d like to see that info from Jazz Fest and French Quarter Fest, too.
Being someone who has been acquainted with the New Orleans music-loving visitor for over 30 years, may I make a humble suggestion, once again, to the powers that be who market to leisure travelers to New Orleans? Can we possibly up the marketing and packages to foreign visitors using a music-themed package?
I am certain that if we marketed the city using our music to countries in Northern Europe, especially Scandinavia, that we’d get a big influx of foreign travelers who would welcome the opportunity to visit New Orleans in the heat of the summer. As I’ve mentioned before, Scandinavians travel more than any other European region. Could we focus on Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland? This should be much easier than in the past, since we now have direct flights from both London and Frankfurt.
Me, I’d like to have more European, Japanese and Chinese visitors during the summer, but I think Northern Europeans are the best bet because they love the sun. I’m sure Satchmo SummerFest would love more foreign visitors too.
Are we making that happen?