Cities around the United States each have leading industries that fuel their economy, provide jobs, and support the fabric of their communities. In Silicon Valley, technology is their top industry, in Nashville they’ve got healthcare, and here in New Orleans, it’s primarily tourism. When people come to visit our fine city, they bring more than just a suitcase and a camera, they bring our livelihood. From their hotel stays and festival tickets to local shopping and dining out, tourists put money in the pockets of our residents, including our artists, hospitality professionals, retailers, musicians and so many more. Equally as important, through taxes, tourism feeds money right into our city’s infrastructure.
In 2012, nine million visitors came to New Orleans and spent $6 billion dollars — the highest spending from tourists to date. The growth in tourism in recent years has made huge improvements to the quality of life in New Orleans for everyone. When you think about it, it makes sense that hosting visitors would be our number one industry; being a welcoming, entertaining community is ingrained in our unique, authentic culture.
A lot of times when we think of tourism, right off the bat we might think of businesses like hotels and restaurants being the only ones benefiting from tourism dollars, but the impact of visitor spending reaches deep into our daily lives. Tax revenue from out-of-towners affords us the opportunity to hire more police officers, hire local companies to mend our streets and buildings, and continue to rejuvenate our flourishing home town. Money made from tourism by the 78,000 people throughout New Orleans that rely on visitors for work is put right back into our own economy by those same workers when they visit the dentist, hire a plumber, and go out to eat. Our industry is what allows our economy and city to function.
Each city takes advantage of its own strengths, and because the pulse of New Orleans is like no other in the country, we can take advantage of how appealing we are and use tourism to help our city thrive.