Tourism in Austin
Robert H. McGee
Tourists bring a lot of business to Austin, Texas, they come to see the State Capitol, the LBJ Library and the Texas State History Museum – in fact, Austin is the fourth most-visited city in Texas. And, every year, more than 100,000 people flock to the Congress Avenue Bridge to watch 1.5 million Mexican freetail bats emerge for nightly feedings.
In fact, according to an analysis of Austin’s tourism industry commissioned by the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau, 19.8 million people visited the Austin area in 2010, an increase of 16 percent from 17 million visitors in 2009. Annual visitor spending totaled $3.9 billion and tourism provided 37,900 jobs (a 2.7 percent increase), with employees earning $927 million (four percent increase) over the course of the year.
Austin: The Live Music Capital of the World
Live music is part of Austin – and it draws millions of tourists and local fans each year. With Sixth Street, the South by Southwest music and film festival each March, the Austin City Limits Music Festival each September, plus other music-related industry events like the International Music Products Association (NAMM) and the International Folk Alliance conferences, “music tourism” is a major industry.
In fact, SXSW draws more than 100,000 attendees to downtown Austin for two weeks every March, and generates an estimated $100 million in economic impact. And, the annual Austin City Limits Music Festival, which celebrated its eleventh year in 2012, generates a whopping $73 million in economic impact for the city.
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