Beyond Recovery: New Orleans Boasts as a Top Destination for Tourists

In 2013, New Orleans will host the NFL Super Bowl, which will be played for the tenth time in the city inside the newly-branded Mercedes Benz Superdome.  Though the game will attract thousands of spectators, it will be a chance for the city to showcase itself to over 100 million television viewers, as it has historically been the most watched television show in U.S. history. The last time New Orleans was broadcast nationally to so many televisions was in the wake of the hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The Super Bowl will be an opportunity to show the world a city that is beyond recovery; New Orleans is a thriving and exciting city.

Final Four crowds at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, March 2012. An estimated 71,000 attended the National Championship Game alone.
Source: Yahoo Sports

Though the city has recovered in many industry sectors, much of this activity can be attributed to the bustling tourism industry. Based on data from the New Orleans Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (NOCVB), 8.75 million visitors came to New Orleans and spent $5.47 billion. (more…)

Economic Development: Invest in Transit


Houston’s Light Rail,

We at TMG have been working for months to statistically, economically or even anecdotally correlate good public transit to economic prosperity in a city.  Observationally, cities that support strong economies like New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, and Boston have a transit system with good coverage and high frequency.  It is unknown whether good transit attracts economic development, or if economic development demands good transit.  We are still working to develop a successful index to correlate these two factors. Here is what we do know: (more…)

Bienvenidos a Miami

South Florida had a tumultuous time during the recession. It was hit hard by the decline of the real estate market and at times had some of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. Corporations, investors and individuals appeared to be fleeing the region in droves. The image of “foreclosure” signs in most of the neighborhoods and halted construction projects along the beach are burned in my memory of South Florida during the worst parts of the recession. These images are scary and it is refreshing to see wherein there is evidence of resilience and growth in a region that offers an infusion of international culture, amazing beaches, great nightlife and so many other things that make Florida attractive to both retirees and spring-breakers alike.

I would argue Miami is the best performing port of entry for international travelers to the United States, in fact, since 2006, it is the only city, of the top five ports of entry, to consistently report year-over-year positive growth in international arrivals. New York is listed as the number one port of entry by volume and Miami comes in at a close second. But, in over-all performance? Miami showed dramatic growth in international arrivals during a period of world-wide economic recession, proved its sustainability in some markets and reinforced the need to invest in infrastructure that supports international trade, commerce and travel.

Miami International Airport (MIA), which recently opened new and renovated terminal facilities, is  had the highest average annual growth between the years 2006 and 2010 (3.1% annually) of all major Florida Airports. Miami also reported the least percentage of negative growth during the downturn of 2009: -1.2% change between 2008 and 2009, whereas Fort Lauderdale and Tampa reported -6.9% change during the same years.  MIA’s comparative resilience during this time, is due, in part to the consistency of International traffic sustained at the Airport.

Total domestic visitors within the United States, though on a decline in previous years, are still a much greater number than international visitors (in 2010 it was about 1,953,800,000 Domestic and 57,900,000 International to the United States). So why are international visitors so significant? The answer: they spend more money… significantly more than that of a domestic visitor. For each domestic visitor within the US one can expect an average of about $320 per person, for an International visitor the expectation, on average, is that they will spend more than $1,700 per person.

Investment in infrastructure that supports the international market has been and will be an important part of South Florida’s economy. Presently, Miami is at a multifaceted competitive advantage to other ports-of-entry cities including NYC, Newark and LA. Miami’s proximity and close relationship to Latin America have poised the city and region to benefit tremendously from growth presently being experienced in overseas. Latin America is booming in regards to emerging economies and increasing their position with international air travel. Simply put: businesses, airlines and private airport operators are investing heavily in the Latin American market; infusing their economies and, as a result, also providing an increased level of mobility and connectivity to their populations.

So where has Miami intentionally or unintentionally made itself attractive to international traffic? For one: The development of expanded and modern terminal facilities at both MIA and FTL have poised South Florida to welcome International visitors and their money in a world-class manner.  The facilities are impressive and accommodate airlines and passengers well in a post 9/11 environment. Though the congestion, confusion and chaos caused by years of construction made some parts of those Airports intolerable for locals, the effort was needed and well worth the pain. Secondly: I think Latin American travelers overall just feel comfortable in Miami. Miami’s has an enormous Hispanic population and with that has brought Spanish-language proficiency throughout many parts of South Florida. In the US, I have never experienced a city where being bi-lingual was more a requirement of the general population than in Miami. Third: The wide array of attractions give visitors a reason to stay in Florida longer and spend more money than they might do elsewhere.  For many international travelers, Miami is more than just a destination city, it’s like a second home.

Contributed by:

Nilsa Duran

Analyst, Planning & Built Environment

The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

GO Zone Bonds Utilized at N.O. Airport

In May, the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (LANOIA) completed the sale of $54 million of Gulf Opportunity Zone bonds to fund terminal improvements. TMG Consulting was a member of the bond team and completed the work with the associated PFC Application for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval of the funding.

In February, LANIOA awarded a contract for a $100 million Consolidated Rental Car Facility. Funded by Gulf Opportunity Zone Bonds, this project creates an 1,800 space rental car facility within passengers’ walking distance of the terminal. TMG guided the project’s conceptualization as well as rental car companies’ approval and was a member of the bond team for financing the project, which is scheduled to open in late 2012.

We continue to assist Armstrong with planning and programming services, and tasks include assisting with procurement for services, analyzing privatization options, and developing capital projects and financing means in anticipation of welcoming visitors to the 2013 Super Bowl.

TMG can help develop both small and large capital programs, from master planning, programming, and identifying available funding to fulfilling compliance and regulatory requirements. To discuss specific needs, please contact Ross Chapman at 504-569-9239, Ext. 27 or