If you don’t know by now, it’s important to understand that tourism is New Orleans’ #1 industry. It is one of the biggest drivers of our economy, which has been growing exponentially since we made it clear after Katrina that we are open for business. One of the reasons that’s true is because we have an incredibly appealing and rich culture that attracts all kinds of people. Some locals think of New Orleans tourists as just wild college kids who come to get crazy for Mardi Gras, but in reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
While we definitely play host to our share of the Mardi Gras/young Bourbon Street/bachelor party crowd, which is understandable, being that we are experts at celebrating (tourists can never quite keep up with us), more often than not, we attract a much different out-of-towner. On average, the tourists that visit our city are well-to-do adults that are here for conventions, family vacations, romantic getaways, and the like; they come here with a good deal of disposable income, ready to soak up our culture by enjoying and spending good money in our award-winning restaurants and bars, our world-class live music events, and in our nationally-recognized shops and boutiques.
The average New Orleans tourists are thirsty to take part in the creative atmosphere and joie de vivre that we foster here in NOLA – that you can’t find anywhere else. They are here to experience something new and exciting; they are here to celebrate and spend money.
Just as we as locals are incredibly diverse and appreciate our own city in different ways, the same is true when it comes to the people that visit. It’s unfair and untrue to label all tourists as being a certain type of person. To be honest, it’s also unwise; tourism would not be our top industry and one of the largest sources of fuel to our economy if all of our guests were young, wild, broke college kids. The more you understand about our New Orleans tourism industry, the more you can embrace the many benefits it affords us.