City of Tyler tourism industry showing signs of recovery as pandemic slows

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Published: May. 4, 2022 at 8:47 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - As part of the 39th annual National Travel and Tourism Week, Tyler residents and business owners had the chance to hear how the city and the economy is growing today. Specifically, the tourism industry.

In 2021 more than 20,000 visitors came through different areas in Tyler. Today guests at a luncheon heard from Scott Joslove, the president and CEO of Texas Hotel & Lodging Association about local and national tourism numbers.

“You have $234 million ... in expenditures, direct expenditures. If I take indirect, triple that. So almost a billion dollars,” he said. “You have $9 million in local taxes that are generated every year from tourism in Tyler. You have over three thousand tourism direct employees within the tourism sector.”

Joslove said 2020 was a horrible year for those in the hospitality industry however,

“Areas like East Texas, I pulled the numbers, you did better than the rest of the state through the pandemic. Did you go down in 2020? Yes, you did. But 2021, guess what, you’re back up. 2022, you are back to your 2019 levels,” Joslove said.

But not in every element.

“We’re still waiting to see the business travel come back. It’s not that they’re not existent, it’s just not at the same levels. We’re still waiting to see the convention and event traffic to come at the level it was 2019,” Joslove said.

In Tyler, the new Rose Complex Convention Center is in the midst of being built. Stephanie Franklin, the deputy city manager, gave an update on that.

“The south parking lot is almost finished. The landscaping and lighting will be installed later. Rose Park is finally going to be connected, we hope at the end of May. Those parking lots adjacent to the Civic Theater as well as the Rose Garden will be finished and hopefully opened at the end of this month,” Franklin said. “By the end of June we hope to have a full enclosure and most of the work will be going on inside.”

Franklin said they hope to be finished with the complex by the end of October.

Last year, tourists spent about $232.9 million dollars in Tyler according to the Dean Runyan Report, which is up 27 percent from 2020.

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