Whether or not you work in the hospitality industry, most New Orleanians are very aware that tourism is a big industry here. We have a one-of-a-kind city, and people are thirsty for the authentic, vibrant culture that we live day in and day out in NOLA. We may see the streets, restaurants, bars, and shops stay busy and our festivals grow in attendance, but many of us might not fully understand the impact that our tourism industry has on us when it is thriving like it is now.
Tourism is New Orleans’ number one industry and it brings in more than $6 billion in a year to our local economy. To the 78,000 New Orleanians that are employed with stable jobs and careers in this industry, the importance of tourism in their lives is obvious; but the significant way that tourism affects each and every one of us, isn’t always as apparent – but the connection is absolutely real. Every time a tourism dollar is spent in our city, that dollar will be spent several times over within our city limits before leaving. That means that when a hospitality employee uses his paycheck to see a doctor or to buy local produce or to renovate his home, the visitors’ dollars that pay his income provide continued stimulus in industries well beyond the tourism industry. Sales tax revenue that tourists pay also flows into our city for things like infrastructure improvements and more police officers.
Taking visitor spending at face value allows us to appreciate only one side of the tourism industry, but knowing how that money spreads and affects us all makes it personal – and it is personal to each and every one of us in New Orleans. The more we learn about the positive effects of tourism on our entire city, the more we can do our part to support our leading industry.