Tourism is New Orleans’ number one industry and employs 75,000 New Orleanians, which means that our thriving tourism industry means big business for our city as a whole. For some of us that may not work in the hospitality or tourism industries, it can be hard to understand how that has any effect on us, but when you think about how far tourist dollars travel into our economy, it starts to make a little more sense.
The Path of a New Orleans Tourism Dollar
Let’s say Businesswoman Brenda is visiting New Orleans for a conference for work. Perhaps she and several of her fellow employees go out to eat in the CBD for a working lunch. The tab is being paid by their employer, so they don’t hold back and they order appetizers and dessert, and end up running up a substantial bill. The money that they spend on lunch goes directly to the business, and the tip to the wait staff, but it doesn’t stop there. Because out-of-town customers like Brenda continue to spend in restaurants like these, Assistant Manager Mark is able to take his paycheck and spend it on the things that he needs and wants in New Orleans.
Assistant Manager Mark uses his income from the restaurant to do things like throw his son a birthday party. He takes his son and his friends to the zoo and then they have a picnic in the park. He buys the picnic decorations and party bags at a local party supply store and the cake from a local bakery. Assistant Manager Mark also buys his son a birthday gift from a local toy store. Those dollars then continue working through our economy through new avenues. The toy store owner uses the money that he makes from his toy business to buy jewelry (from a local jeweler) for his wife for their anniversary, and so on.
The key thing to remember is that our economy grows in so many different ways. Every new dollar that enters our economy is used again and again while here, helping businesses to thrive, and New Orleanians to increase their quality of life. When tourism is the largest source of fuel for our economy, we can appreciate how far those dollars can reach into our lives, whether or not we work in the hospitality industry.