Louisiana will again break records in 2013 with tourists pouring into the state for this year's combo Super Bowl and Mardi Gras celebrations.
Louisiana attracted more than 26 million visitors in 2012, breaking a previous tourism record set in 2003.
Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne announced the new numbers Tuesday at the state museum in Baton Rouge.
Dardenne says the numbers, part of an annual study by the University of New Orleans Hospitality Research Center, indicate that the state’s tourism sector is trekking up.
The study said 26.6 million people visited Louisiana in 2012, spending $10.7 billion compared to the 25.5 million people who visited in 2011 and spent $10 billion.
In 2003, the first year of the study, 26.2 million visitors came to Louisiana and spent $9.4 billion.
Dardenne says the uptick in visitors last year resulted in the creation of 8,000 new tourism jobs and generated $665 million in state tax revenue.
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Photo credit: A Mardi Gras Indian parades during the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans. Jonathan Bachman / Reuters