Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What Does Fat Tuesday, Or Mardi Gras, Mean To Investors?

Today is Fat Tuesday, which is the English translation of the French Mardi Gras, which marks the final day of Carnival and the last day before the start of Lent. This celebration has a long history and is celebrated in many countries across the world. I’m sure you are wondering how exactly this impacts investors, so let's get to that.

Many people might not realize how huge Fat Tuesday is or how much money these celebrations bring to local economies in areas that celebrate them. The biggest Fat Tuesday celebration in the U.S., as most people are probably aware, happens in New Orleans. Each year on Fat Tuesday--and to a lesser extent the other days of Carnival--hundreds of thousands of tourists gather in New Orleans. Last year more than 800,000 people gathered in New Orleans for Fat Tuesday. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that anytime that many people gather in one spot, there is going to be opportunity for investors.

During this time, hotels in New Orleans run near full occupancy and many locals rent out their homes--or rooms in their homes--to travelers. In addition to lodging, partiers also buy a ton of food and little trinkets (namely beads), among other things, which also spurs the local economy and businesses.

While everyone knows about New Orleans, there are some lesser-known areas that investors might be able to get in on which will see Carnival profits that investors could get in on at lower prices. Real estate prices in New Orleans have dropped substantially because of the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. Property prices in the French Quarter are still pretty steep, though. If you are set on New Orleans, there is the potential to benefit from Go Zone investment incentives. Some other places in the U.S. that have big Fat Tuesday celebrations are Mobile, Lafayette, and St. Louis. Mobile and Lafayette also qualify for the Go Zone incentives.

In addition to U.S. destinations, there are many international places that celebrate Carnival. The Carnival celebrations in Brazil, the biggest of which happens in Rio de Janeiro, are among the most famous. Another large celebration--lesser-known than that in Brazil--happens in Montevideo, Uruguay.

There are numerous other places across the U.S. and the world that celebrate the Carnival season, and with the celebration come investment opportunities. There is plenty of profit potential in business and real estate across the board. Not only that, but it is also a lot of fun to party, especially--for me, at least--in other countries. To get a chance to experience other cultures and celebrate with them is always a great experience. So next time you go to that Fat Tuesday party, keep your eye open for investment opportunities. If that party happens to be in another country, all the better.

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