The locals of New Orleans fight over tourist surge

Published on : Thursday, July 4, 2019

The residents of New Orleans are struggling back after overtourism witnessed visitor numbers surge.


The historic centre of the Louisiana City receives more than five times the number of tourists per resident in the current context than the centre of Venice, one of the destinations that have been badly impacted by tourism demand awe-inspiring current infrastructure.


The New Orleans Sustainable Tourism Task Force, an independent collective of citizens introduced in 2018, has unveiled a report after a year of research and analysis.


It compares the Big Easy, popular for its sundry jazz scene and eclectic culinary offerings, to the cities of Europe like Barcelona and Amsterdam that have thrashed about to deal with huge numbers of visitors in recent years.


The report emphasizes the prime areas of concern, which include the effects of marketing the city as a “24/7 party town”: “The consequent degradation of residential quality of life is placing severe stress on the city’s historic neighbourhoods and degrading the visitor experience.”


As the overall visitor body count is rising, visitor spend is not. Even though, tourist numbers increased by 5.2 per cent in 2017 compared to the previous year, spending only increased by 1.3 per cent.


“More tourism is not necessarily better,” says the study, quoting a National Geographic article. “Better tourism is better. Governments and industry should therefore abolish the practice of setting tourism goals based only on arrivals.”


“Decades of unmanaged mass tourism inundating the historic centre (French Quarter) has manifested in overcrowding, disrespect for locals, exorbitant parking rates, noise and crime,” says the report. “As a result, the relationship between all area residents and their own historic centre has been fractured.”


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