New Orleans ranked as the 10th best city in the world in a survey of Travel + Leisure magazine readers, the first time since 1996 the city has made the Top 10 list.
The Crescent City was one of two U.S. cities to make the list; Charleston, South Carolina, was ranked second. Kyoto, Japan, topped the list.
New Orleans was ranked 6th among U.S. cities in 2013. It vaulted this year to No. 2 nationally past San Francisco, New York City, Chicago and Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Respondents were asked to judge a city based on factors such as sights and landmarks, culture and arts, restaurants and food, people, value and romance. More than 17,000 readers participated in the survey, a Travel + Leisure spokeswoman said.
Lea Sinclair, a spokeswoman for the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp., which promotes leisure travel, credits the ranking to all of the “wonderful things” going on in the city, such as the growth of the local tech industry and the South Market District mixed-use development.
“We’ve had record-breaking attendance at most of our major travel events this year, such as Jazz Fest,” she said. “The city is really exploding, and it’s becoming a model to the nation.”
The increased publicity hopefully will lead more people to come to New Orleans, especially for events such as the city’s Tricentennial, which will happen in 2018, Sinclair said. “More awards, more visitors,” she said.
Also making the Travel + Leisure list was the Windsor Court Hotel in the Central Business District, which was ranked 32nd in the list of best hotels in large cities. That’s six spots higher than in 2013, when the Windsor Court finished 38th.
David Teich, general manager of the 316-room hotel, credits a recent $22 million renovation with helping the Windsor Court move up in the rankings.
“I’m incredibly proud of this,” he said. “We have fantastic associates that know how to take care of each and every guest.”
He noted that the Windsor Court finished ahead of famous luxury hotels such as the Wynn in Las Vegas, Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas and the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco.
New Orleans’ worldwide ranking gives local tourism marketing agencies more leverage in the effort to attract visitors, Teich said.
“We’re having a banner July,” he said. “But when these type of polls come out, people see that New Orleans has come way, way back.”
The full list can be seen at travelandleisure.com and in the magazine’s August issue, which is set to reach newsstands on Friday.
Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.