How the New Orleans economy could make a strong recovery after this pandemic
By: Rachel O'Neil | WGNO | August 13, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted many elements in New Orleans including the hospitality industry but financial experts in the city say, recovery could be on the horizon.
Before this pandemic, there were over 90,000 jobs in the hospitality industry in the New Orleans region which Walt Leger, Senior Vice President of New Orleans and Company says, the city’s economy heavily relied on.
“Last year, it accounted for ten billion dollars of spending,” Leger explained. “That’s about 280 million dollars a week in the City of New Orleans.”
Leger says now, about half of those hospitality jobs are gone which has devastated the city’s financial security. Fortunately, light seems to be at the end of the tunnel.
“There does appear to be an uptick even in hotel stays over this past weekend as college students begin to return to Xavier and Tulane and other universities,” Leger said.
Leger also acknowledges the industry has a long road to recovery, Michael Hecht, CEO of GNO Inc. says not only has the New Orleans economy shown signs of bouncing back, but the city could also come out of this pandemic doing better than before.
“Telemedicine, infectious disease are areas that obviously are gonna be accelerated because of coronavirus and our hospitals and our universities are very well positioned there,” Hecht told WGNO. “The growth in logistics and with our six class-one railroads- we’re very well positioned for. I think our tech community, particularly things like video games, is gonna continue to grow.”
As for hospitality workers? Leger assures there will be a strategic plan in place.
“That will allow for there to gradually be more people that can come to the city, come to our restaurants, stay in our hotels- do that safely and hopefully get everyone back to work as soon as possible,” said Leger.
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