Fort Worth is saying “Howdy” to a lot more tourists these days, according to new economic impact numbers from the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau (FWCVB) announced during its fourth annual meeting this morning at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel.
The research shows growth in visitation, spending and jobs directly related to the Fort Worth tourism and hospitality industry.
According to the report, in 2016, the key tourism numbers are:
• 8.8 million visitors
• $2.3 billion in direct and indirect spending
• 22,583 jobs supported by tourism
• $116 million in local tax revenue
• $598 tax savings per household
Other key metrics from the FWCVB:
• The FWCVB sales team booked 11 citywide conventions slated for 2017.
• The largest convention ever booked in FWCVB history, the National Beta Club Convention- the largest independent, nonprofit, educational youth organization in America – was announced for 2020 and will bring an estimated 15,000 room nights.
• Kenneth Copeland Ministries (KCM) celebrated its 35th anniversary of convening in Fort Worth in 2016 and is booked through 2022.
The meetings theme, “things to do,” paid homage to the growing number of attractions and features in the city and was also a challenge to the more than 800 attendees at the event. “There are more things to do for all of us in the room,” said Bob Jameson, FWCBV president and CEO.
Jameson also noted that Fort Worth is missing out on some larger conventions because it lacks sufficient downtown hotel rooms and that plans for changes to the convention center will help attract more conventions and meetings for the city.
A video commissioned by the FWCVB featuring Fort Worth band Grady Spencer & the Work’s song “Things to Do” debuted at the meeting. The video was produced at Niles City Sound in Fort Worth by the same producing team behind Leon Bridge’s first album: Austin Jenkins, Chris Vivion and Josh Block.
The video will be used in FWCVB advertising, presentation and promotional efforts domestically and internationally.
Jameson also discussed a new digital passport that will allow visitors to buy tickets to museums and attractions on their phone before they arrive. Among other features, the digital passport will allow visitors to purchase a joint museum ticket. Over 20 Fort Worth attractions including museums, breweries and walking tours have signed on to participate, according to Jameson. The digital passport will roll out in late February 2017.
The 2017 FWCVB Hospitality Award was presented to Grammy-nominated artist Leon Bridges by Brendon Anthony, director of the Texas Music Office in the Office of the Governor. Bridges, exuding coolness with his sharp dress and dark sunglasses, was swarmed by fans following the event.
The annual award honors a person, company or organization that has made significant contributions to developing, marketing and delivering visitor experiences to Fort Worth’s travel, tourism and hospitality industry. The award is a unique bronze sculpture of a man presenting a Shady Oak hat, a legendary sign of Fort Worth hospitality begun by the late Amon G. Carter.
The keynote address was given by Jay Baer, the most retweeted person in the world by digital marketers. Baer is a five-time New York Times best-selling author and international expert on technology, marketing and customer service.
Among Baer’s suggestions on customer service were for companies and individuals to follow a B.E.E.T. plan, for Be Empathetic Every Time, when addressing customer service issues.
The Wednesday a.m. event’s presenting sponsors were Pinnacle Bank and Tri-Hawk Media.
Video of ‘Things to Do’: www.youtube.com/channel/UCm6_cFu69mIx6uCELacF46w