As originally published in Texas Border Business newsprint edition May 2020.
All communities in Texas, big and small, are being severely impacted by the loss of travel spending due to the coronavirus. According to recent estimates from the U.S. Travel Association, annual travel industry losses for the U.S. could approach -45% and far exceed that of any other sector. The impact of the coronavirus on the travel industry is projected to be 9 times that of 9/11. The research also shows significant losses for Texas. The state has lost more than $1 billion in travel spending each week since March 21 – the fourth-highest impact among all states following only California, Florida, and New York.
Other industry indicators support the economic impact estimates. As seen in the chart from research firm STR, hotel room nights sold across the state dropped to 889,000 the week of April 18. This represents an occupancy rate of around 20% statewide. Airlines have canceled flights and reduced scheduled departures to Texas airports. As of April 27, Texas departures for the upcoming four weeks are down -65% according to Airline Data, Inc.
Travel Texas is monitoring industry impacts as well as consumer sentiment for when the time is right to travel again. Recent surveys show that many travelers are postponing trips for later in the year, feel safer on road trips, and are more likely to explore destinations closer to home. Resources to assist the travel industry with recovery from COVID-19 are available at www.travel.texas.gov.