Path of a Tourism Dollar: Retail Edition

Bestselling author Chris Rose recently explored how using New Orleans imagery like fleur de lis and even the water meter symbol pays off when it comes to local retail. But New Orleanians aren’t the only ones purchasing NOLA-themed items. We’ve created an example of how the path of a tourism dollar works, starting with a single purchase in the retail industry.

Rebecca is a tourist who visits the city every year. And every year, her friends and family back home expect the perfect New Orleans souvenir. Since Rebecca knows her way around the city, she has her pick of shops that carry locally inspired items. For her best friend, she heads straight to Dirty Coast, where she purchases a Po-Boy Patent t-shirt. The t-shirt of course makes her hungry for a po-boy, so her next stop is Mahoney’s Po-Boy Shop for her favorite fried shrimp po-boy. Just two purchases from Rebecca have created revenue for two local organizations – and the path of a tourism dollar is just getting started.

dirty coast

T-shirts from Dirty Coast on Magazine Street. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

After his shift, the salesperson at Dirty Coast on Magazine Street decides to check out the new store location on Frenchmen Street. With the cash he earned from selling Rebecca a Po-Boy Patent t-shirt, he catches a cab to the Central Business District and plans to walk the rest of the way to take care of some errands and enjoy a little sightseeing. First, he stops in at Academy of the Sacred Heart to pay an installment of his daughter’s school tuition. After that, he heads to the Post Office in Lafayette Square to send a care package to a friend (with a Dirty Coast t-shirt inside, of course). While in the CBD, he checks out Willa Jean, the new bakery in the South Market District. He orders the chocolate chip cookies for a sweet snack and supports a brand-new business all in one fell swoop. Then, he walks through the French Quarter where he gets a Pimm’s Cup to go from Napoleon House. As he marches on toward Frenchmen Street, he tips a local musician along the way, who will use the money to buy new strings for his violin and keep the music flowing through the streets of New Orleans.

And there it is: a chain reaction of positive economic impact that helps locals across varying industries, all thanks to two simple purchases from a tourist who loves the city. Whether an industry is tourism-related or non-tourism-related, it doesn’t matter: the path of a tourism dollar touches them all. Have you found yourself in the path of the tourism dollar lately?