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Big Bucks! Dallas Tourism's Economic Impact Exceeds $7 Billion

Venues like the American Airlines Center helped the city move one step closer to bringing its tourism revenue to pre-pandemic levels, according to a study from Visit Dallas.
Venues like the American Airlines Center helped the city move one step closer to bringing its tourism revenue to pre-pandemic levels, according to a study from Visit Dallas. Visit Dallas
New data from Visit Dallas show that local tourism may finally be returning to normal after the time it lost to the coronavirus pandemic.

Visit Dallas, the nonprofit tourism group formerly known as the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, completed an economic impact study on the city's tourism revenue. The report shows that the city generated $7.2 billion in 2021.

The study also shows that 22.5 million people visited the city last year, spending $4.4 billion across Dallas. These tourism dollars also helped maintain approximately 43,000 jobs and generate $421 million in state and local taxes. Industries that are part of those job numbers include sectors such as real estate, finance, insurance and other business services.

"The tourism industry is the tenth-largest industry in Dallas and a critical economic engine for the city, generating tax revenue and jobs that residents rely on," said Craig Davis, president and chief executive officer of Visit Dallas. "The results of this study show the value of the travel sector in terms of direct visitor spending, as well as the total economic impacts in the broader economy. I’m thrilled that the reports shows that Dallas is recovering faster than expected, bringing necessary revenue back to the city."

If these trends continue, 2023 could be a good year for the city's tourism totals. Projected spending totals could exceed $10 billion next year, supporting more than 62,000 jobs and bringing in $674 million in tax revenue, according to the report.

The COVID-19 shutdown that started in 2020 brought tourism to a screeching halt. Approximately 300,000 people filed for unemployment with the state of Texas in a single week of April 2020 after the state opened the program to include freelance and contract workers who lost business as a result of the pandemic, according to a report from WalletHub.

"Even with mounting economic challenges, prospects for the Dallas travel industry remain strong. Business travel continues to rebuild with survey data and bookings data showing strength," said Adam Sacks, president of Tourism Economics. "Meanwhile, leisure travel intentions remain robust based on significant household savings and ongoing pent-up demand. While a recession will temper growth, we expect the forward momentum of travel to continue well into 2023."
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Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune, Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.

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