10 Ways Tourism Helps New Orleans

Tourism is New Orleans’ top industry, sure, but it is also incredibly valuable to each and every one of us, whether we work in tourism or not. Our tourism industry helps us in so many ways, both directly and indirectly, and sometimes it’s nice to get a refresher on exactly what those ways are. Check out 10 ways tourism helps make New Orleans the amazing place we love below.

jackson square

Locals and tourists alike can enjoy beautiful scenes like Jackson Square. (Photo via Flickr user Brandon)

1. It brings in billions of dollars to our local economy

We welcomed 9.52 million visitors in 2014 (we’re still calculating 2015 numbers!), and their spending totaled $6.81 billion for the year, marking the highest spending in our city’s history. In 2013, we saw our previous spending record of $6.47 billion — 2014 surpassed that by more than 5 percent! Our tourism industry is only growing, and that money is crucial to the success of our local economy. See what we mean in our Path of a Tourism Dollar infographic.

2. It Provides More Than 80,000 Jobs for New Orleanians

New Orleans’ tourism industry provides thousands of stable jobs for our citizens. What’s more, each job in tourism & hospitality represents the chance to move up through the ranks (just like the Reyes brothers). As the success of our city depends on tourism, New Orleanians will always be able to find work in our thriving tourism and hospitality industries.

Tourism to our city means jobs for our locals. (Photo by Pat Garin)

Tourism to our city means jobs for our locals. (Photo by Pat Garin)

3. It Provides a Wide Range of Fulfilling Careers

Tourism doesn’t just provide jobs for our city — it also provides a wide range of fulfilling careers and opportunities for advancement. Jobs in the tourism industry range from bellhops to executive level positions, from restaurant managers to PR professionals. The possibilities truly are endless!

4. It Spreads Revenue Throughout Our City

Industries throughout our city see economic benefits through the “ripple effect.” Every single tourism dollar that is spent in New Orleans is spent several times over before leaving, like when a restaurant server spends his income on dental work, or when a hotel manager spends her paycheck on renovations to her kitchen.


5. It Provides Revenue to Improve Our Schools and Safety

From sales tax revenue paid by tourists, our school board sees funding from visitor spending. As our tourism industry grows, so does the sales tax revenue that our city uses to make improvements. Recently, a new sales tax approved for the French Quarter allows us to bolster our safety efforts within the city’s historic epicenter. We love that through taxes paid overwhelmingly by tourists, we can continue to make our city thrive.

6. It Supports Infrastructural Resources

Infrastructure improvements to our city receive funding from sales tax revenue collected, and with visitors spending more than $6 billion in our city in a year, our local government has more and more funds to utilize. Tax revenues that our city receives from tourism activities helps to make New Orleans a better place. As tourists spend in our city, we are able to afford more and more resources from the tax they pay, including things like more police officers to help make our streets safer.

7. It Nurtures Our Creativity

New Orleans has long been known as an enclave for artists and musicians, but without tourist dollars supporting those creative efforts, the city would look and feel a whole lot different! While we’re always quick to tip a musician or purchase local artwork whenever possible, it takes tourists to further bolster our arts and culture scene.

8. It Helps to Grow Our Good Reputation

Not just the country, but the world is coming to know New Orleans for more than just Mardi Gras. Word is getting out that we are not only back, but we are better than ever, and we are worth investing in. New Orleans is going through a beautiful renaissance and people who visit our city leave as ambassadors for us. 

9. It Helps Us to Sustain the Cultural Assets of a City of Millions

New Orleans may be a city of only 378,000, but we have the cultural assets of a city of millions. From our restaurants and museums, to our zoo, art galleries, and theatres, tourism helps us to sustain the wide range of amazing things in our city that we are able to enjoy every day.

sculpture poydras

One of many sculptures dotting the Poydras corridor in the Central Business District. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

10. Reminds Us of How Special and Unique Our City Is

New Orleanians take great pride in our city, and visitors are a constant reminder of how special it is here. Our love for our city grows as we continually see our city anew in the eyes of the visitors that are drawn here.