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Record Number Of Visitors In Houston Last Year

Downtown Houston skyline

More than 21 million visits to Houston occurred in 2017, marking significant progress toward the city's goal of 25 million visitors by 2020. 

The domestic numbers show a 6% increase over 2016, according to the preliminary research provided by Travel Market Insights. Most notably, millennials continue to advance Houston’s numbers domestically. Of the 18.3 million domestic visits to the city in 2017, approximately 80% were overnight visitors and 20% came for day trips. Roughly 73% of the domestic total came to Houston for leisure activities, while 15% were here for business and 12% characterized their trip outside of these two categories.

International visits were an estimated 3.5 million, a 3.5% increase over 2016. Canada is estimated to register a significant increase of up to 37%, while Mexico posted a 1.5% increase. That number bucks the national trend, since preliminary figures for international travel from Mexico to the United States show an overall decline of 9%.

Many factors contributed to the growth, including major events like Super Bowl LI and the World Series, more passengers from Mexico flying into Houston and focused marketing efforts like the HolaHouston campaign.

“On the heels of a highly successful year for Houston, beginning with the Super Bowl and ending with a World Series championship, it is no surprise that our city continues to capture the attention of more and more people who live elsewhere,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. "The tourism industry supports more than 140,000 jobs in our region and contributes $16.5B to the local economy. These new tourism figures indicate we are headed in the right direction.”