Great news for Abilene.
The city has seen a jump in the number of tourists and money being spent in town.
Here are the facts:
- The city's Convention and Visitors Bureau reports a 16 percent rise in travel spending.
- That amounts to an increase of over $420 million being spent.
- From 2010 to 2011 hotels saw a spike in spending from $40 million to over $54 million.
- Food and beverage sales also rose from $58 million to $66 million.
While this does amount to good news for the city, KTXS learned that a large majority of those increased numbers can be linked to something we would have rather not dealt with.
In the case of last years wildfires, they brought us a lot of grief but that amounted to a big boost in spending by out-of-towners.
While our attractions brought some of those tourists to town, the Convention and Visitors Bureau said we have a West Texas villain to thank partly for those higher numbers.
"Unfortunate incidents, the wildfires and what not, that had a little bit of an impact on increased numbers, but because we were able to treat those people so well they kept coming back," said Communications Director Trish Dressen.
But firefighters weren't the only ones coming to town.
"They're coming from all over the state, they're coming from New Mexico, they're coming from Oklahoma, we've even had some international tourists," Dressen said.
They're coming for the fairs, and even our newer attractions, but it's something uniquely Texan that's bringing them to the area.
"They want to see the wild west, they want to see Frontier Texas, they want to experience a revitalized downtown and see what art is like in West Texas," she said.
Visitor spending was up in Callahan and Jones counties as well, over the last year.
All of that spending brought more than 3500 jobs to the area.