Since post-Katrina infrastructure and reputation damages, a national recession, restrictions in corporate business travel, and the BP oil spill, New Orleans' Metropolitan Convention and Vistors Bureau reports recovery in annual visitors, growth in tourism and expansion of events. Prior to the hurricane August 29, 2005, 8.5 to 9 million visitors frequented the city annually. Since 2006 when 3.7 million visitors were reported, 2009 saw 7.5 million tourists.
Tourism is the largest employer in the area at 70,000 people and generates $200-225 million in direct tax revenues, more than any other business sector. From January to May, 2010, the city recorded the highest REVPAR (revenue per available room) in the country. Recent events include February's largest Mardi Gras celebration in 25 years, the return of Royal Caribbean in November 2011, following a three-year absence, and the upcoming Super Bowl XLVII in 2013 at the Louisiana Superdome.