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The SXSW Impact

Annual event net millions for Austin, Texas tourism
Written by , published March 16, 2015 Photographs by Lois M. Rodriguez

20150315 093100South by Southwest aka SXSW and formally known as “South by Southwest Music, Film, Interactive, Edu and Eco Conferences and Festivals” continues its run in Austin through the weekend. With the film and interactive portions put to bed, music is in high gear. And for Texas tourism, it’s all good news.

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What’s the dollar value of the publicity Austin and Texas receives as a result of the conference and personal experiences from fan favorite celebs that have converge on the community (and Texas) for the enormous industry party?

As we wait for the final tabulations of this year’s figures, which, at the very least, mirrored 2014’s success, last year’s SXSW had a $315 million impact to the City of Austin. The event reinforced SXSW’s reputation as the world’s premier gathering of creative professionals in film, music and interactivity. Successful additions to that have been educational and ecological components, as well.

julia2“SXSW continues to be an extraordinary celebration of the cultural fabric of Austin and all that Austinites value,” says Michael W. Rollins, CCE and President of the Austin Chamber of Commerce. He adds that, “Besides focusing the eyes of the world on our city in March, SXSW brings employment to many thousands of our citizens and allows them to provide for their families. From entertainment venues that employ local bands to hotels to retail establishments and all the support industry that provides services that visitors require to the many innovative businesses that have relocated or started up here because of the exposure Austin gained during SXSW. This event has helped drive the thriving economy in Central Texas. The fact is that all Austinites benefit from SXSW as the City of Austin has collected millions of dollars in taxes through the years that can be directly attributable to SXSW. Thank you, SDXW.”

And what’s behind that economic impact? The more than 44,500 registrants last year that participated in 13 days of industry conferences, a 4-day trade show, 6-night music festival with more than 2,100 bands, and a 9-day film festival with more than 400 screenings. Those attendees booked more than 13,990 individual hotel reservation for 60,450 room nights.

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