Circa 1887

Even if we weren’t there at the time, many are likely familiar with the State Fair of Texas and it’s impact to the city of Dallas annually.

It’s amazing how much has changed over the years. In 2017 the fair welcomed 2,250,433 people!

The 2017 event brought big crowds and an even bigger community impact. With the majority of funds going to participating vendors, the Fair generated approximately $54.5 million in gross coupon sales for food, beverages and rides – a second best in the Fair’s 131-year history.

One thing that has stayed remarkably the same, though: our industry’s unique emphasis on welcoming visitors from near and far, which has helped position travel and tourism as an economic power in the lives of Texans.

Nationwide, the travel industry is a top-10 employer in 49 states and the District of Columbia. International travel is our country’s No. 2 export. One in nine Americans depend on travel to and within the U.S. for their employment—and it’s not just those directly working in the travel industry, either: overall, travel supports 15.6 million jobs and is a $2.4 trillion U.S. industry.

In 2017, travel generated $75.6 billion in state and local tax revenue, more than enough to pay all state and local police and firefighters, or 1.25 million public school teachers (preschool and k—12) across the U.S.

Travel is powerful for cities and states, and Texas is no exception. In 2017, the travel and tourism industry continued to be a driver in the Texas economy. Here is a snapshot of some top level numbers.

A record $74.7 billion in visitor spending within Texas (+7.9% over ’16)

  • $7 billion generated in state and local taxes
  • 7th consecutive year of tourism job growth
  • Hotel room revenue totaled $10.8 billion (+8% over ’16)

Think back on how travel to Texas looked for a visitor in 1887. You’re probably conjuring up images of quaint mom-and-pop businesses, like tour operators, hotels and restaurants, fueled by eager visitors wearing wool suits, and romantic era corset-style dresses. Now re-envision 2018: the clothing styles may have changed, but the strength of small businesses supported by travel has not.

The State Fair of Texas may be a big name around here, but in fact, 84 percent of travel and travel-related businesses are small businesses. According to PCAV Destination’s 2018 Voice of the Visitor study, attractions expected to see the most growth include water parks, aquariums, and science centers.

That’s why it’s so important to keep welcoming visitors to Texasand why our industry is highlighting “Travel Then and Now” during National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) 2018, May 6-12. We encourage you to join us in observing NTTW this year and celebrate all that travel does for Texas, and for our country as a whole.

This year’s NTTW is more than just another campaign. It’s a movement that positions the travel industry as a primary driver in the U.S. economy, and an important part of our daily lives in Texas.

Here are a few ways to get involved:

  • Join a local rally by clicking here.
  • Contact your member of Congress and tell them about why travel is important to Texas.
  • Get social and engage with the #NTTW18 hashtag on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
  • Share your welcome with simple gestures such as a video message or picture and put that on your social media feed.

For more great ideas and resources, check out this toolkit , Economic Impact Map and Travel Economic Impact Calculator from the U.S. Travel Association.

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