Visitor spending increases by $4 million in WF

Visitor spending increased by $4 million in Wichita Falls

WICHITA FALLS, TX (RNN Texoma) - The millions coming in from those visiting Wichita falls is good news for more than just businesses. It is also helping to fuel the economy.

A new study done by the Texas Economic Development and Tourism Division of the Governor’s Office shows last year visitors spent $192 million in the city. That is $4 million more than the year before.

Lindsay Barker, Wichita Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau Director, said some might be surprised by the numbers.

“I think sometimes there’s maybe an idea or misconception that Wichita Falls does not have visitors or people don’t come here, and it’s just not true,” said Barker. In fact that report shows in 2017 the city had over 2.5 million visitors.

“That’s outside money that’s coming in to our city, they’re spending their money here and that’s being pushed into the local economy,” Barker said.

Plus adding jobs. 3,000 exist because of travel spending, providing opportunities in industries like food service, entertainment, hotels and more.

“Anything that basically a visitor might partake of or spend money with,” Barker said.

Visitors like Barbara and Tom Gibbons from Nashville.

The couple is staying at the Wichita Falls RV Park. They come to town every three months to see their daughter stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base.

While they are here to visit family, they also hit the town.

“We like the restaurants here, you have such a great selection for a small town and that's really appealing to us,” said Barbara Gibbons.

She also likes the Farmers Market downtown.

“I love what they are doing with the downtown area,” she said.

They are not the only ones spending some cash while spending time with loved ones.

Robert and Sharon Biles come in from Plainview about two to three times a year.

“We do eat out when we're here and buy fuel and stuff,” said Robert Biles.

They laughed when they admitted they go to Walmart once in while to get some items they need.

“We spend a little money while we’re here,” Robert Biles said.

Pete Vogl, the caretaker for the Wichita Falls RV Park, said they have seen an increase in the number of visitors there as well, and some of those include people come from all over the world.

He adds this year has been their best year ever.

Tourist are not just spending more money in Wichita Falls.

Barker said the amount of money spent by visitors in the Wichita Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is all of Wichita County, Archer County and Clay County, went up $10 million. That brings the 2017 total to $292 million.

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