Parish tourism is on the rise

More than 50,000 people are anticipated to visit Destrehan Plantation this year, making it one of St. Charles Parish’s tourism hot spots.

“Although we don’t have complete attendance figures for the year, we do expect to have an approximate 15 percent increase over last year’s totals,” said Director Nancy Robert.

Overall figures show tourism is on an upswing at local attractions in the parish, which translates into economic growth.    

Robert said this year’s growth is coming from bus companies bringing visitors from New Orleans to Destrehan Plantation.

“We attribute that to the many demonstrations and unique exhibits we have on our site,” she said.

Additional growth is coming from weddings booked throughout the year, averaging about 30 weddings in the Mule Barn yearly, Robert said.

More growth is anticipated with startup of the site’s new event center, which will be used for small events such as children’s birthday parties, small weddings, lunches and baby or bridal showers.

“Events such as these also bring visitors into our area to contribute to the local economy through purchases for gasoline, food at restaurants and hotels rooms while they are staying in the area,” Robert said.

The Fall Festival returns this year, on Nov. 11 and 12.

“We will have a new area to park vehicles for the festival on approximately 8 acres of property that we purchased and cleared for future expansion,” she added. “With such convenient parking on site, we hope area residents will come out and enjoy the festival.”

Tourism numbers for the parish overall also show tourism growth.

A recent University of New Orleans report on tourism shows tourism spending in 2016 (latest available figures) increased by 11 percent to $64.2 million. Earnings that same year rose 8 percent to $24 million.

The economic rollover effect of tourism translated into a 29 percent increase state and local sales taxes generated this same year to nearly $7 million, the report states.

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