Photos and video available for download here/Credit: Visit Dallas
DALLAS (November 7, 2022) – Visit Dallas' latest annual economic impact study through Tourism Economics finds that the tourism industry generated $7.2 billion in economic impact for the city of Dallas in 2021, showing a significant rebound from COVID-19-related losses. Looking ahead, total visitor volume and spending are expected to fully recover to their pre-pandemic levels by 2023.
According to the study, 22.5 million visitors spent $4.4 billion across Dallas in 2021, generating a total economic impact of $7.2 billion for the city and its residents. This impact sustained more than 43,000 jobs and generated $421 million in state and local tax revenue.
"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 CEO 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."
"This study shows that Dallas is back," said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson. "We are pleased that visitors are returning at near-pre-pandemic levels, and that our hospitality industry - which brings in billions of dollars in economic impact and creates thousands of jobs in our city - is recovering faster than anticipated. And the outlook is outstanding. Our city has undeniable Big Dallas Energy, and we are improving and adding major amenities that will continue to attract vacationers and business travelers from across the nation and around the world."
Visitor volume and spending increased significantly in 2021
After the devastating COVID-related economic declines of previous years, 2021 was a year of recovery and growth as travel confidence rebounded. With an increase of more than 3.6 million visitors over the previous year, total visitation recovered to about 78% of 2019 (pre-pandemic) volume. As we wrap up 2022, visitation is expected to reach 95% of 2019 levels, with full recovery in 2023.
The study showed that 57% of visitors stayed in Dallas for overnight trips, while 43% visited for single-day trips. Additionally, domestic travelers accounted for 96.4% of visitation, with international travelers making up 3.6%.
Visitors to Dallas spent $4.4 billion across a range of sectors in 2021, including accommodations, food and beverage, recreation, retail shopping, local transportation and air travel, generating billions of dollars in economic impact for the city.
Visitor spending expanded by 41% in 2021, recovering to 77% of 2019 levels. By the close of 2022, spending is expected to reach 99% of 2019 levels.
Of the $4.4 billion spent in Dallas in 2021 by visitors, lodging accounted for $1.1 billion, 25% of the average visitor dollar. Spending on food and beverage resulted in $1 billion. Retail captured 20%, a total of $885 million. Transportation, including both air and transportation within the destination, comprised 18%, with recreation spending registering 13% of each visitor dollar.
Tourism continues to support thousands of jobs for Dallasites
Tourism supports jobs across various sectors in Dallas, including many small businesses and independent owners. Direct tourism employment supports significant shares of several industries – nearly all of lodging, 31% of recreation, 15% of food and beverage employment, and 6% of retail employment.
As compared to the holistic economy, pandemic-related job losses were more severe in the leisure and hospitality industry. As businesses reopened and travel demand picked up, employment in leisure and hospitality gradually recovered. Total employment in the Dallas Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) returned to February 2020 levels in June 2021. In comparison, employment in the leisure and hospitality industry did not reach pre-pandemic levels until April 2022.
"Recovery in tourism and hospitality jobs is vital to the health of the Dallas community, and we're excited to see progress on this front," said Traci Mayer, Executive Director of the Hotel Association of North Texas. "From large businesses to mom-and-pop shops in every neighborhood of Dallas – visitor spending is essential to the livelihoods of families in our community."
In total, tourism supported 43,315 jobs in 2021, including in industries indirectly impacted by visitor spending, such as business services, finance, insurance and real estate. Additional data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Current Employment Statistics shows that Dallas is leading the recovery of leisure and hospitality jobs, outpacing not only other major markets, but also the state of Texas and the nation, compared to 2019 numbers.
Economic impact looking ahead to 2023
In 2023, projected improvement in visitor volumes and direct visitor spending will further stimulate the Dallas economy through direct, indirect and induced spending. Tourism's total economic impact is forecasted to exceed $10 billion by 2023, supporting over 62,000 jobs and generating $674 million in state and local tax revenues.
"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."
About Visit Dallas
Visit Dallas is dedicated to elevating Dallas as a welcoming, must-visit destination and marketing Dallas globally to benefit our community and visitors. Dallas, the ninth-largest city in the United States and the leading business and financial center of the Southwest, offers travelers an unparalleled array of amenities, a central location, and easy accessibility with two major airports. With 20 vibrant and diverse neighborhoods, including the nation's largest contiguous arts district and other notable attractions, there is a Dallas destination to suit every style. For more information, go to visitdallas.com.
About Tourism Economics
Tourism Economics is an Oxford Economics company with a singular objective: combine an understanding of the travel sector with proven economic tools to answer the most important questions facing our clients. More than 500 companies, associations, and destination work with Tourism Economics every year as a research partner. We bring decades of experience to every engagement to help our clients make better marketing, investment, and policy decisions.
Chelsey Norris, Communications Manager