Tourism is a booming industry in the state of Texas. Tourism is growing in Corpus Christi and Port Aransas. In 2013, over $67.5 billion was directly spent on travel in Texas, which was an increase of 3.1% from the preceding year in current dollars. Tourism directly supported 601,000 jobs across a variety of sectors. The local government and state tax revenues as a result of travel spending were $4.7 billion, not including property tax payments. This week, as summer is well underway, I want to take the opportunity to discuss the benefits of travel and tourism. This is important because it accounts for a robust economic engine for the Coastal Bend. Currently, our area is the sixth-most visited destination in the state of Texas and continues to have a high concentration of family vacationers.
The Economic Development & Tourism Division in the Office of the Governor completed a travel report for 2013 on the Corpus Christi Metropolitan Statistical Area. Three counties make up this area: Aransas, Nueces, and San Patricio. The report described visitor trends to the area. According to the report, 88.3% of the visitors to the area for tourism were Texan, and the top three Texas locations of origin were San Antonio, Houston, and Corpus Christi. The top three non-Texan visitor origins were Monterey-Salinas (Mexico), Hartford & New Haven, Connecticut, and Omaha, Nebraska.
The report also outlined activity categories in which visitors to our area participated. As you might expect, our beaches are enormous assets to our region and the Coastal Bend. Outdoor sports, such as fishing, hiking, and water sports were also popular activities. Also according to the most recent Governor’s office report, 26.4% of the activities visitors engaged in were within the Culture category, which included visiting historic sites, touring and sightseeing, and visiting museums and art exhibits. The Libation/Culinary categories were at 21.2%. The average length of the stay was 2.04 days. 89.8% of the visitors traveled by automobile, while only 8.9% traveled by air.
According to a 2014 study conducted by Texas A&M Corpus Christi, nature tourism is one of the fastest-growing market segments in tourism activities in our area. In fact, it accounts for around 47% of all visitor trips. Today, Corpus Christi is a part of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail. Along with that, Port Aransas boasts nature tourism events like the Celebration of Whooping Cranes.
Drawing from annual data from 2012-2013, total visitor spending for tourism has increased by 55% since 2003. Over 4,500 new direct tourism jobs were created over this period. As of 2013, the tourism industry directly employed over 17,000 people in our area, making it the second largest private employer. It is important that we continue to encourage such growth and opportunity in the Coastal Bend and in the state of Texas as a whole.
The 84th Legislative session has come to a close but I invite you to review what was accomplished during the recent session. To view the governor’s actions, please visit Office of the Governor Gregg Abbot or to see the bills that have already been signed, please visit Office of the Governor bills . If you would like to see more about the legislature, please visit the Texas Legislature Online .
If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. Please always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas state agency, or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).
– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32
Rep. Hunter represents Nueces (Part) County. He can be contacted at email@example.com or at 512-463-0672.