Galveston Reports Record High Tourism Revenues, Visitation in Newly Released Tourism Economic Impact Study
More than 6.5M Travelers Visited Galveston in 2016
GALVESTON, Texas (May 26, 2017) – Tourism is on the rise in Galveston. According to a newly released economic impact study commissioned by the Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau, the island experienced record visitation and tourism revenues last year.
The study, conducted by Philadelphia-based Tourism Economics, shows 6.5 million travelers visited Galveston in 2016, spending $780 million and generating a $1.1 billion impact to the local economy.
Tourism in Galveston has grown steadily for the last several years, with visitation having grown 12% since 2013. Tourism officials attribute the pace to Galveston’s diversity of offerings and several new attractions that have opened on the island in recent years, including The Bryan Museum and the world’s tallest water coaster at Schlitterbahn.
“Galveston has continued to develop new reasons for travelers to visit almost on a yearly basis,” said Kelly de Schaun, executive director of the Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau. “More and more people are discovering that Galveston is much more than a beach destination, from our many unique attractions and historic sites to our vibrant culinary, arts and entertainment scenes.”
While cruise passengers made up just 13.5% of total visitors to the island last year, the sector is growing exponentially and made a strong contribution to overall visitor growth last year. Cruise embarkations grew from 837,000 in 2015 to 877,000 in 2016 – a nearly 5% spike.
Visitors are clearly taking advantage of the amenities Galveston has to offer, but locals are also winning big. Tourism sustained 11,000 jobs in Galveston last year, representing one in every three jobs on the island. Since the 2009 employment trough, the tourism job market has grown 19.1% compared to 10.3% for total employment in Galveston.
Additionally, tourism generated $158 million in taxes in 2016. Tourism-driven state and local tax proceeds of $76.6 million helped offset the average Galveston household tax burden by $3,771. While tourism generated a significant amount of hotel occupancy tax (HOT) revenue that is restricted, it also contributed $26.5 million in local sales and property tax revenue, accounting for 51.2% of the City of Galveston's General Fund.
To view a copy of the latest tourism economic impact study, click here. For more information on Galveston tourism, visit www.galveston.com.