Benchmarking New Orleans’ Tourism Economy: Hotel and Full-Service Restaurant Jobs

Robert Habans (The Data Center) Allison Plyer (The Data Center)

Published: Dec 07, 2018

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The tourism cluster is the focus of increasing scrutiny in New Orleans. Promoters and critics alike are eager to know the actual number of jobs “created” by the cluster as well as actual wages, with comparisons to other cities. This brief responds to questions about the number and quality of tourism jobs in New Orleans, while being transparent about the limitations of measuring tourism’s contribution to the economy and income levels for tipped workers. In addition, this brief provides details about the quantity and quality of jobs in the hotel and full-service restaurant industries in New Orleans.

Introduction

Tourism is the focus of increasing scrutiny in New Orleans. In May of this year, workers protested lack of health benefits at the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation board meeting.1 And a proposal to publicly subsidize a new hotel at the foot of Convention Center Boulevard received significant criticism from analysts at the Bureau of Governmental Research.2 More broadly, New Orleanians have grumbled for decades that tourism capitalizes on New Orleans’ culture but does little to benefit those who create that culture.3

As the debate on tourism has heated up, The Data Center has been called upon frequently to provide objective data on the tourism economy in New Orleans. Promoters and critics alike are eager to know the actual number of jobs “created” by the cluster as well as actual wages, with comparisons to other cities. This brief provides a complete and transparent documentation of the data we have on tourism in New Orleans and provides additional details about both the hotel and full-service restaurant industries.

Continue reading the full report [Download PDF]

Citations and sources can be found in the PDF copy of the report.

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