For 130 years, the Dallas Zoo has been providing entertainment and education to the people of Dallas, the surrounding area, and beyond. The Zoo's wide variety of specimens, acclaimed exhibits, and research facilities make it a popular destination both for local residents and visitors from outside the area.
Travel and tourism is an important source of economic activity. Every year, millions of visitors to Texas spend billions of dollars in the state. In 2015, the number of person-stays was estimated to exceed 250 million and had been growing steadily for several years. Hundreds of thousands of individuals across Texas are employed in travel-related industries.
In a remarkable odyssey of almost two centuries, a rugged and remote frontier outpost named for one of its many native tribes has been transformed into a major center of high technology and international commerce. From cattle to cotton to oil to electronics, Texas has repeatedly reoriented its business complex to meet evolving needs and circumstances. Even given the Lone Star State's remarkable capacity to adjust, the current period is one of unprecedented challenges (and opportunities).
Growing an economy and encouraging prosperity is difficult work, and the last thing Texas needs is to shoot itself in the foot over a bathroom bill. The state has a lot of things going for it - a large and growing workforce, abundant natural resources (particularly oil and natural gas), a central location, a competitive cost of living, and excellent incentive programs. We also have good things going on in a number of industries ranging from technology to biosciences. We're improving infrastructure, adding top-tier research facilities and medical schools, and emerging as a center for desirable industrial growth and corporate locations and expansions.
Travel and tourism is an important source of economic activity. Every year, millions of visitors to Texas spend billions of dollars in the state, and hundreds of thousands of individuals across Texas are employed in travel-related industries. I have studied travel and tourism in Texas on a number of occasions dating back more than 30 years. Recently, I estimated that when multiplier effects are considered, the total benefits of travel and tourism industries include more than $128.9 billion in gross product each year and 1.4 million permanent jobs in Texas. This economic activity generates substantial tax revenue, which I found to be $7.0 billion to the State and $3.3 billion to local government entities (including cities, counties, and school districts) each year.
Travel and tourism plays a large role in the Texas economy. Unique traditions and expansive wide-open spaces have lent a genuine mystique to "all things Texas" over the years. Today, the Lone Star State offers countless opportunities for leisure and business travelers--whether intrastate, interstate, or from far-flung places around the globe. From sleepy picturesque towns and winding country roads to enormous high-tech theme parks and world-class museums, and from high school, college, and professional athletic contests to out-of-the way nature trails, fishing holes, and cultural enrichment activities, Texas really is "like a whole other country."
Every year, millions of travelers come to Texas for both business and leisure purposes. Texas benefits greatly from travel spending from residents of the state as well as travelers from other states or countries.