Living in New Orleans has me constantly ask “how does tourism affect local culture?” Broad spectrum, we can look at the “beds in heads” average, the annual economic increase, and the marketing budget spent overall. Harder to interpret is the cultural impact on zoning changes, increased pressure on infrastructure, neighborhoods divided over risk/rewards, and commodification of lifestyles. What is the breaking point between selling a city’s charm for a visitor versus the long-term sustainability for its residents? Visitors, searching for that untouched part of their lives, and locals, looking to protect that very way of life in their own.
There is no doubt that tourism is beneficial on many levels. Through the education of the traveller, the economic stimulus for the economy, to the international press of local issues, tourism undoubtedly is an industry that is needed and will remain. On the other side, however, there is abuse of businesses and government to benefit a few with a foothold in the industry and capitalize on short-term gains.
Tomorrow will be an important convergence of of over a year's worth of work. I will describe the details next week, but for now let me break this down.
The Issue: a lack of organized conversation about the many sides of tourism in New Orleans.
Solution: Bring together facts and interested parties to discuss the many facets of tourism.
Details: Tchoup Yard, 5-7PM, October 5th, 2016. 405 Third St, New Orleans, LA 70130