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Austin Tourism Makes a Comeback

A new report shows travel to Austin was up in 2010.
Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News.
A new report shows travel to Austin was up in 2010.

After two years of declines, Austin-area tourism rebounded last year to pre-recession levels. That’s according to a new reportfrom the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau. The report says 19.8 million people visited the Austin-Round Rock metro area in 2010 (including both day and overnight trips). 

That bounce came after two years of annual declines in the number of visitors. Tourism levels in 2010 were back to about where they were in 2007, before the recession.

While travel to Austin was up, the report says that didn't necessarily translate into more tourism-related jobs:

Most indicators of travel activity in the City of Austin and the larger metropolitan area, including room demand and real visitor spending, were up. However, because of the severity of the recent recession, these gains were not translated into travel-generated employment as employers more often increased the hours of existing employees and improved their balance sheets. A continuation of growth in visitation and spending should favorably affect future employment levels.  

Some other highlights from the report include:

  • Travel spending increased about 9 percent from 2009 to 2010 to $4.5 billion. The increase was 5.3 percent if you adjust for inflation
  • Travel spending generated $765 million in local, state and federal taxes last year

The report was put together by the research firm Dean Runyan Associates. Check it out here