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Tourism and Travel

The Economic Impact of Travel to the WTEDD region is immense. The westernmost region of Texas as well as Southern New Mexico boasts pristine parklands, wide open skies, popular hiking and camping areas, and beautiful national parks. Both Brewster County and El Paso County are the largest tourism hubs in the West Texas Economic Development District. Following declines during the most recent recession, the travel and tourism sector in the region has begun to regain from previous losses. Though economic development is tremendously significant for the region, making sure that the environmental sustainability of the region’s national parks and monuments is of the upmost importance.

State Parks

National Parks

Mexico Parks

This report describes the economic impacts of travel to and through the WTEDD region. The travel industry still makes a substantial contribution to government revenue and earnings and employment are categorized within various classifications. These are Accommodations and Food Services, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation, Retail (which includes gasoline sales), Air Transportation, Travel Agencies, and Auto Rental and Other Ground Transportation. In recent years, the state and local tax revenues supported by the travel industry represented between 7 and 8 percent of all state and local tax revenues in Texas (not including property taxes). The travel impact for the region will be measured by travel spending, employment, earnings and local tax revenue.[i]

[i] Source: Dean Runyan Associates http://www.deanrunyan.com/TXTravelImpacts/TXTravelImpacts.html

Total Direct Employment
Total Direct Employment represents the employment attributable to total expenditures made directly by travelers to businesses throughout the region.

A vast majority of tourism-related jobs were in El Paso County with 11,900 jobs, followed by Brewster County, in Big Bend Country, with 1,372 jobs.

In the past ten years, El Paso County has averaged about 11,400 direct travel jobs and peaked in 2006 with 12,000 travel jobs. Brewster County has averaged 1,361 jobs and peaked in 2009 with 1,401 jobs.

Total Direct Travel Spending
Total Direct Travel Spending had reached the $1 billion dollar mark between 2003 and 2004 for El Paso County and has grown to $1.4 billion in 2010.

Brewster County has seen over $51 million dollars in Travel Spending in 2010. Culberson County managed to have over $34 million dollars in Travel Spending for the same year.

Total Direct Travel Spending more than doubled for Hudspeth County between 2000 and 2010. Hudspeth County grew from $2.92 million dollars to $5.43 million dollars.

Presidio County grew from $4.23 million in 2000 to almost double at $8.36 million in 2010.

Total Direct Travel Earnings
Total Direct Earnings are the earnings attributable to total expenditures made directly by travelers to businesses throughout the region.

El Paso County recorded the largest amount of Total Direct Earnings in 2010 with approximately $321 million dollars in Total Direct Earnings. Brewster County had the largest amount of Total Direct earnings in 2009 with $24.5 million followed by Jeff Davis County with over $4 million dollars in Direct Earnings in 2010.

Presidio County has nearly doubled its Total Direct Earnings within the past ten years from approximately $848,000 to $1.6 million.

Local Tax Revenue
Local Tax Revenue is tax revenue collected by counties and municipalities, as levied on applicable travel-related businesses and includes the transient lodging and local sales taxes.

El Paso County recorded the largest amount of in tax revenue in 2010 with over $21 million dollars. Hudspeth County had the lowest amount of tax revenue in 2000 with $2.18 million, but that has grown to $2.62 million in 2010.

Presidio County has more than doubled its Local Tax Revenue from $94 million to $207 million.

State Tax Revenue
State Tax Revenue comes from state sales taxes, business and occupation taxes, motor fuel taxes and car rental taxes attributable to travel expenditures.

El Paso County recorded the largest amount of in tax revenue in 2010 with over $76 million dollars. Hudspeth County had the lowest amount of tax revenue in 2002 with $273,000 dollars, which has now grown to $348,000 in 2010.

State Tax Revenue generally fell for the counties during the recessionary periods of 2001 and 2008-2009.

Every county saw steady growth in State Tax Revenue between 2004 and 2007.

Leave No Trace Program

Leave No Trace is a national and international program designed to assist outdoor enthusiasts with their decisions about how to reduce their impacts when they hike, camp, picnic, snowshoe, run, bike, hunt, paddle, ride horses, fish, ski or climb. The program strives to educate all those who enjoy the outdoors about the nature of their recreational impacts as well as techniques to prevent and minimize such impacts. Leave No Trace is best understood as an educational and ethical program, not as a set of rules and regulations. Leave No Trace information helps public land visitors understand and practice minimum impact skills and ethics.

The Leave No Trace program is a combination of science and common sense for enjoying the outdoors responsibly. The message is framed under seven principles:

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
4. Leave What You Find
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
6. Respect Wildlife
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors